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Broadway League Approves 15-Second COVID-19 Test For Actors and Crew; League President 'Cautiously Optimistic' About Early 2021 Return

Broadway League Approves 15-Second COVID-19 Test For Actors and Crew; League President 'Cautiously Optimistic' About Early 2021 Return

As the Broadway shutdown continues, at least through the beginning of January 2021, fans and industry professionals alike are wondering just when they can expect Broadway to return.

Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin told the New York Post that for the first time, she feels 'cautiously optimistic' about Broadway being able to reopen in the first quarter of 2021, due to a medical breakthrough.

"For the first time, we got positive - what I call 'cautiously optimistic' - indications from the medical professionals that we're working with," she said.

St. Martin says that there is a new 15-second quick test for COVID-19 approved by the League's infectious disease expert, that actors and crew members will be able to take.

"It's not assured, because you get new information all the time. But so far, we feel good about the first quarter being open."

St. Martin also said that the older Broadway houses will receive updates to their HVAC systems before reopening, to improve air filtration.

This comes after Andrew Lloyd Webber conducted a safety test at the London Palladium earlier this month, where similar measures were taken, including thermal sensors upon entering the theatre.

"I saw v comprehensive safety measures in place," Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden tweeted after meeting with Webber at the Palladium. "Despite the huge challenges, we're working intensively with them & others to get theatres open as soon as safe and I know that panto season is key."

As BroadwayWorld previously reported, St. Martin said, "The conversations are going that in the first quarter of the year we plan to be back unless we get some kind of bad news."

"The economists who we are listening to are telling us that tourism for New York City and travel is going to slowly ramp up," she told MetroFocus. "We might be back [to where it was] by the first quarter of 2024. That's a frightening thing to think about, because the margins are slim on Broadway. But we'll be back."

As BroadwayWorld reported last month, Broadway performances in New York City will be suspended through the remainder of 2020. Returning productions are currently projected to resume performances over a series of rolling dates in early 2021.

Broadway performances were suspended on March 12, 2020. At that time, 31 productions were running, including 8 new shows in previews. Additionally, 8 productions were in rehearsals preparing to open in the spring.

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