People attend the arts to escape the weight of current events, but the weight of current events has proven to be too much for the arts to bear amid the spread of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended to organizers throughout the country to cancel or postpone in-person events consisting of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks.
The edict comes after bold steps had already been taken by major players across the country, starting with Austin canceling its annual South by Southwest festival. The festival was canceled nearly two weeks ago after a string of participants such as Google started backing out. The move is projected to cost the Austin community an estimated $400 million. The figure was derived by a study commissioned by the city that estimated income generated by last year’s event.
In New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo had previously directed Broadway to shut down shows until April. Once Albany County reported its first two cases of COVID-19 last week, area theaters followed suit.
Within hours, the Palace, The Egg, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Cohoes Music Hall and each of the houses under Proctors Collaborative announced the postponement of shows running into April.
The timetable of these closures could change after the CDC’s latest recommendation. Until that time, here is a partial list of closings within the local arts and entertainment scene.
Albany Center Gallery shut down all events and will remain closed to the public until April 3.
Albany Symphony canceled its Sunday Symphony Family Concert on Sunday, March 22.
Upstate Concert Hall has canceled or postponed several of this month’s shows. Visit upstateconcerthall.com for more details.
Rivers Resort and Casino has restricted casino guests to 500 at one time. Guests also must sit at least one seat in between each other. The VIP Lounge is closed until further notice. And all entertainment inside the Event Center, Van Slyck’s and Duke’s Chophouse are canceled for at least two weeks.
Adirondack Thunder and Albany Patroons cancelled the remaining games of their respective seasons.
Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center has canceled all classes, programs and rentals until Friday, March 27. Center and trails are still open.
To learn of the status of all of the libraries in the Upper Hudson Library System, visit http://bit.ly/518libraries.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.
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