On April 2, concert venues and other performance spaces in the state of New York will be able to open at limited capacity.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday at a conference in Albany that arts, entertainment, and events venues could reopen April 2 at 33 percent capacity, with an indoor limit of 100 people and outdoor limit of 200 people. While live music fans might rejoice in this new, these restrictions may not be enough to keep business afloat for many well-known venues across New York City.
“Given that social distancing is still part of the metric, it brings us back down to an approximate 20 percent capacity, which is untenable,” Michael Swier, owner of New York City’s Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge, told the New York Times. “Even 50 percent would be rough for us.”
Even the city’s most iconic jazz venues, such as the Blue Note in Greenwich Village, can only be helped so much by the restrictions. “It doesn’t make financial sense for the Blue Note to open with only 66 seats for shows,” added Steven Bensusan, president of the Blue Note Entertainment Group,
With a 100-person cap, it seems unlikely that larger-scale productions — such as big Broadway shows or arena concerts — will return until most social distancing guidelines are lifted. Several venues told The Times that they’ll wait to reopen at all until they can safely do so at full capacity; if President Biden’s vows to vaccinate everyone willing by the end of May, many are crossing their fingers for a proper live music return this summer.