Broadway shows had been going on as scheduled amid of the spread of the coronavirus, but now the pandemic has come closer to home for the theater industry. According to the New York Times, a Broadway usher has tested positive for COVID-19. The usher worked last week at the Booth Theatre, currently home to a revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf starring Laurie Metcalf, and before that managed lines at the Brooks Atkinson Theater, home to Six, the pop musical about Henry VIII’s wives. According to the Times, the usher is now quarantined, and both shows are expected to continue as scheduled.
“Last evening, we were notified that a part-time employee of both organizations has tested positively for COVID-19 (Cornonavirus),” the Shubert Organization, which operates the Booth, and the Nederlander Organization, which operates the Brooks Atkinson, said in a joint statement. “Immediately upon learning of the positive test, both organizations began taking every step necessary to ensure the safety of our audiences, performers, crew, and building staff.”
“The individual, who is currently under quarantine, most recently worked at the Shubert’s Booth Theater on Tuesday, March 3rd through Friday, March 6th as an usher. As a result, a deep cleaning, following all current government standards, has been completed at the Booth Theater,” the organizations said. “The employee also recently worked at the Nederlander’s Brooks Atkinson Theater on the evening of February 25th and the matinee of March 1st, expediting lines outside the building. Out of an abundance of caution, a deep cleaning is currently scheduled to take place overnight at the Brooks Atkinson Theater.”
The statement continues:
Leadership of both organizations have been in contact with the State of New York, as well as the City of New York, and we are closely following all protocols related to containment and prevention. We are exercising necessary due caution with all our employees and the public. Employees of the theaters and productions who may have been exposed were notified and advised to monitor their health diligently and follow best practices related to personal hygiene, as well as directed to stay at home if they are ill. In addition, we are urging any high-risk audience members who attended these performances in the past several days to follow similar guidance.
This evening’s performances of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Booth, Six at the Brooks Atkinson, and all other Broadway shows have determined they will continue as scheduled. Any ticketholder that prefers to attend a future performance of Virginia Woolf or Six will be provided the opportunity for an exchange at the point of purchase.
Our teams are continuing to monitor and address the situation in real time, and will provide updates as appropriate. Among the many reasons that Broadway is unique is the connection between our audiences, the performers, and the women and men who work on the production teams and within our theaters. We are committed to making sure this never changes, and we will continue to provide a safe and special experience for all involved.
Broadway has so far kept its doors open as the coronvirus continues to spread. The Broadway League has instituted several health and safety measures, encouraged those with flulike symptoms to stay home, and recommended that shows stop their stage door policies for the time being. Some productions, Virginia Woolf among them, have also slashed their ticket prices in response to the news. Elsewhere in the country and around world, governments have instituted bans on mass gatherings, such as in Washington, D.C., which recently declared a state of emergency.