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Coronavirus Emergency Closes Major NYC Venues

PLSN Staff • News • March 12, 2020

View of Josie Robertson Plaza, Revson Fountain and David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, New York City.
Photo credit: Iñaki Vinaixa for Lincoln Center

NEW YORK — Along with the postponement of all Broadway shows through at least April 12, major venue closures announced March 12 include Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Apollo Theater in addition to the city’s major museums and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Most closures will be in effect from Friday March 13 through at least the end of March, but New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio, who declared a state of emergency on March 12, dashed optimistic expectations with a bleaker scenario, noting that the coronavirus outbreak “could easily be a six-month crisis.”

On March 12, city officials were reporting 95 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with close to half — 42 — reported within the previous 24 hours. That number, de Blasio warned, could easily expand more than tenfold within one week’s time.

Shortly before most of the venue closure announcements, New York State governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a 500-person limit on all public gatherings.

Major museums joining the big performance spaces going dark included the Museum of Natural History, MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Frick, and others.

New York’s public library system, while canceling workshops and special events, will remain open for those seeking to borrow books, according to reports.

Some arts organizations are fighting the outbreak in creative ways. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, for example, went forward with performances planned for March 12 and 15, but without an audience. Instead, the performances will be streamed online at

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s New Milestones program went on as scheduled, but without an audience.


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