Empire State Building observation deck closed by coronavirus

City's major viewing platforms have all closed in the past five days

New York /
Mar.March 17, 2020 09:45 AM
Amid coronavirus fears and restrictions on large gatherings, the Empire State Building has closed its observation deck. (Credit: ESBNYC)

Amid coronavirus fears and restrictions on large gatherings, the Empire State Building has closed its observation deck. (Credit: ESBNYC)

The Empire State Building’s owner announced Tuesday that it had closed the tower’s observation deck to the public, as the Trump administration advised against gatherings of more than 10 people to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

Another observation deck, Edge, which had only just opened at Hudson Yards, closed Friday following guidance from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to limit gatherings of 500 or more people. The following day, One World Observatory, which opened in 2015 at the top of One World Trade Center, also suspended operations, as did Top of the Rock Observation Deck at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

The National Park Service on Monday closed the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.

The Empire State Building’s observation deck produced $19 million in net operating income in the first quarter of last year and $24 million in the second, according to its owner, Empire State Realty Trust.

On an earnings call last month, when the coronavirus epidemic had yet to make significant inroads in the U.S., Empire State Realty CEO Anthony Malkin noted that the financial toll of the outbreak was still quite minor.

“I think that if we have a more broad spread of this, we could have a more broad impact,” he said. “At the moment, it’s really not material to us.”

But the virus has spread significantly since then. As of Monday afternoon, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York City had reached 463, and that number was expected to rapidly increase in the coming days. [Reuters] — Kevin Sun


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