Broadway Goes Dark as New York Bans Gatherings of More Than 500

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The Broadway League announced Thursday afternoon that the Great White Way will go dark because of coronavirus concerns.

The decision to shut down through April 12 came as New York State on Thursday announced a ban on gatherings of more than 500 people beginning Friday at 5 p.m. (2100 GMT) in order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Establishments that can fit 500 people or fewer must halve their capacity beginning on Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Broadway theaters had been looking at ways to meet the new state rules, but decided to shut down instead.

“This is about science, this is about data,” Cuomo said in announcing what he described as extraordinary measures for a state that includes the nation’s most populous city. “Let the science, let the data make the decisions.”

As of Thursday afternoon, there were 328 people in the state confirmed to have contracted the new coronavirus, which causes a sometimes deadly respiratory disease called COVID-19. A minority of those people have been hospitalized, but so far no deaths have been reported in New York.

Hospitals, nursing homes, mass transit and certain other facilities will be exempt from the new rule, Cuomo said.

Neighboring New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy recommended the cancellation of all gatherings of more than 250 people.

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