New York venues can reopen in April at 33% capacity

New York venues can reopen in April at 33% capacityPublished: March 3, 2021Destroyer at Brooklyn Steel, 2020 (photo by P Squared)

New York will allow performances venues to reopen starting April 2, with capacity capped at 33%, for a maximum of 100 people indoors, or 200 outdoors. Venues in NYC have been closed since the initial lockdown on March 12, 2020.

Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at a press conference in Albany, The New York Times reports. Capacity could be raised to 150 people indoors or 500 people outdoors, the Governor said, if venues will test all attendees. A number of venues told the Times that they will reopen on April 2, though the paper notes that initially these are likely to be pop-up events at Broadway theaters and non-profit spaces like Apollo Theater, the Park Avenue Armory, St. Ann’s Warehouse, and the Shed.

For smaller venues, the current guidelines may not be worth the cost of reopening yet. “It doesn’t make financial sense for the Blue Note to open with only 66 seats for shows,” Steven Bensusan, who runs Blue Note jazz club, told the Times.

Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge owner Michael Swier told the Times, "Given that social distancing is still part of the metric, it brings us back down to an approximate 20 percent capacity, which is untenable."

The New York Independent Venue Association released a statement recorded the news:

NYIVA is encouraged by Governor Cuomo's commitment to reopening live events and we look forward to restoring New York as the arts capital of the world. We stand ready to do whatever it takes to be live once again for New York. We are not out of the woods yet and our independent venues have struggled to get through this pandemic. We were the first to close and the last to open and are working with the state to get the assistance we need in order to comply with the new requirements.

At this stage we can't provide exact numbers on which of our members plan to reopen. What we do know is that in order for independent music venues in New York to reopen and thrive, our industry needs financial support from the state to help procure the equipment and products to reopen safely and comply with the guidelines.

New York movie theaters can re-open at 25% capacity this Friday (March 5).