NEW YORK — The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the music and entertainment industry in New York, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday it’s still too dangerous to reopen places like concert venues and comedy clubs.
The governor, speaking on LI News Radio, said he understands the pain the industry is going through but music venues and comedy clubs are “the last tranche” when it comes to balancing the risks and rewards of reopening.
“When you look back and look at what we did, the most essential businesses with the lowest risk we [reopened] first. Essential businesses clearly … then the most essential and the lowest risk, and the last was the least essential and greatest risk,” he said.
The density of such venues remains the crux of the issue, according to the governor, even if social distancing can be established in larger arenas like Madison Square Garden.
“Even if you say, ‘Okay, every two seats, every three seats.’ Yeah but you’re still channeling people in and out of a corridor, right? They’re still coming through a gate,” Cuomo said.
New York has been able to maintain a coronavirus infection rate below 1% for over a month, but Cuomo said the state is not out of the woods yet, especially at a time when the return of students to schools and college campuses could cause a spike in cases.
“I hate to say this because everything is essential. How essential is a comedy club when you’re talking about the infection rate? Not to offend people in the comedy club, Lord knows we need to laugh, but those are the calibrations we’re making,” the governor said.