Broadway theatres will remain closed until May 2021 due to COVID-19, with all productions to remain on hold and refunds and exchanges now available.

The announcement means that the most recent January 3 target for reopening the 41 New York City venues, which have been shut since March 12, has evaporated.

The Broadway League said that tickets for shows through March 30, 2021 will be refunded.

The reopening date has been pushed back several times in recent months, with shows initially set to be shut down through April 12, then through June 7, then through September 6 and then through January 3, 2021.

Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said: “With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so.

“We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again.”

Productions that previously scheduled to play during the 2019-2020 season have delayed their runs, while the new extension also impacts new shows that had rescheduled spring and summer openings.

Touring Broadway performances in theatres across North America have also been affected.

The Broadway League said it continues to work with city and state officials to find the safest way to reopen. Broadway shows will determine their dates to return on an individual basis.

Actors’ Equity Association, the national labour union representing professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, called the decision to stay closed “difficult but responsible” and urged for government assistance for those out of work.

Mary McColl, executive director for Actors’ Equity Association, said: “This is a deeply painful time for everyone who depends on the arts for their livelihood. We are at this moment because, seven months into the pandemic, our nation still lacks a coherent national strategy.

“Too many in the industry need help now as we face another six months without work. The ongoing lack of work in the arts means we face a critical need for a federal COBRA health insurance subsidies, renewed federal unemployment benefits and arts funding. Washington must act.”

Equity has been fighting for a governmental response to an arts industry shutdown since March, when it first asked for an economic relief package for an industry in crisis. The union then fought for the passage of the CARES Act in March, helping expand the bill to apply to arts workers who lost future work.

In May, Equity then set its sight on the HEROES Act, which passed the House and has yet to pass the Senate.

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