The lights will stay out on Broadway for at least another seven months.
The Broadway League, which represents the industry’s producers and theater owners, announced Friday that the White Way’s 41 theaters will not reopen until next May at the earliest, the New York Times reported. By that point, theaters will have been closed for more than a year.
Even the target date of May is up in the air; Charlotte St. Martin, the president of the Broadway League, told the Times that “we truly don’t know” when theaters will be able to safely welcome patrons again.
“I think people’s bets are the fall of next year,” she told the paper.
Broadway’s economic impact on the city is substantial. In its 2018-2019 season, it brought in about $14.7 billion, with a good chunk of that coming from tourists who come to New York City to take in a performance or two.
The absence of tourists in the city is having a ripple effect on myriad industries — hospitality, retail and transportation among them — and decimating New York’s economy.
International arrivals at NYC-area airports in July were down by 93 percent over the same period in 2019, and in August, occupancy at the dwindling number of open hotels was at just 40 percent, compared to 80 percent last year, when far more hotels were open. And foot traffic in Times Square, the epicenter of tourism in the city, is down by 72 percent.
The travel and tourism industry usually brings in about $7 billion every year, the New York Times reported, and it’s unclear how far that number will fall in 2020. Some hotels and restaurants have seen an uptick in interest from locals, but that won’t be enough to close the gaps.
“If no tourists come, I have no business,” Prince Mahamud, who runs a Chinatown souvenir shop, told the Times.