In the latest sign of how fast vaccinations are changing, what New Yorkers can and can’t do, Radio City Music Hall plans to reopen next month to welcome full-capacity non-masked audiences – as long as every ticket holder has been vaccinated .
The music hall will welcome streams of vaccinated people past their neon tents and back into their gilded Art Deco auditorium for the final evening of the Tribeca festival on June 19, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday.
“This beautiful hall is being filled again,” said Cuomo at a press conference in the music hall. “Having Radio City back 100 percent without masks, with people enjoying New York and New York art, won’t just be symbolic and metaphorical. But I think it will go a long way in restoring that state. “
James L. Dolan, the chairman and executive director of Madison Square Garden Company, who owns the music hall, said the hall would remain open beyond June 19, but only to vaccinated people. When asked how the rules would be implemented – and whether ushers would follow the honor system or look for proof of vaccination – he admitted that some details were still being worked out.
“That’s a really good question, I have no idea,” said Mr Dolan. “We will work with the state and find a way to do this.”
The announcement came as the plans to reopen have changed and accelerated day by day.
Mr Dolan said his group’s venues would start booking concerts and other events for what he thought was a “blockbuster summer”.
May 17, 2021, 6:24 p.m. ET
“We didn’t think this was going to happen,” said Mr Dolan. “We really had planned a blockbuster fall.”
He said the group’s other venues, which also host sporting events, would allow a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated patrons, but would give priority to vaccinated patrons. Still, he acknowledged that planners would need to make a more detailed assessment of the venues before specific rules could be put in place.
In his remarks, Mr. Cuomo emphasized that people who are not vaccinated would not be allowed into the music hall and stated in his PowerPoint: “Vaccinations have advantages!”
Although the number of new coronavirus cases in New York state is declining, the average averaged 1,864 coronavirus cases per day, according to the New York Times on Monday. Around 43 percent of the state’s residents are vaccinated, and more than half have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The organizers of the Tribeca Festival have already announced that they will open the festivities with the premiere of “In the Heights”, the film from the Lin Manuel Miranda musical. Mr. Cuomo said Monday that one of the opening screenings would be held at Pier 76 Park on the Hudson on June 9th.
Monday’s announcement of the revered hall’s return is the last in a series of reopenings officials have planned for the coming weeks and months. As more New Yorkers became vaccinated against the virus and federal health officials relaxed their guidelines on how to wear masks, indoor arts venues have slowly begun welcoming visitors back while adhering to capacity limits and other safety requirements.
Perhaps most notably, Broadway shows have started selling tickets for full capacity shows, some of which will begin as early as mid-September.