Governor Cuomo announces live events may return sooner than expected thanks to rapid testing

The program is called New York Arts Revival.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan
Senior National News Editor
TKTS Booth in Times Square
Photograph: Courtesy Theater Development Fund

"New York City is not New York without Broadway," said Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday during a weeklong series of policy addresses before announcing the implementation of a new public-private partnership called New York Arts Revival which will bring live shows to the city as early as February 4.

As of now, the partnership will work on a trifecta of opportunities. First off, residents will be treated to a series of state-wide pop-up concerts headlined by the likes of Hugh Jackman, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer and Renée Fleming, among others. Secondly and, perhaps, most excitingly, the state will kick off a pilot program to figure out how to properly hold socially distant performances across local venues in the near future. Lastly, the partnership will work alongside the Mellon Foundation—one of the largest supporters of the arts across the country—to distribute grants to artists and community art groups in need.

The pop-up shows, which will feature over 150 different artists, will be organized by the New York State Council alongside producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal, and they're set to kick off on February 4. 

The governor specifically mentioned the inability to wait until a majority of New Yorkers are vaccinated to bring live events back. As a result, the partnership will likely highly rely on rapid testing opportunities, which Cuomo hopes to expand to a bunch of pop-up sites where folks could get tested before heading to a theater or even dining at a restaurant.

The idea of rapid tests facilitating a return to live events isn't a new one. As pointed out by Cuomo himself, the Department of Health is currently monitoring contact tracing results following a Buffalo Bills game that welcomed (and tested) 6,700 fans last Saturday as an experimental trial.

"Almost no one has been hurt more by COVID than our artists," said Cuomo. "We cannot wait until summer to turn the lights back on." We couldn't agree with you more, Mr. Governor.

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