Theater capacity limits will expand on May 19, but owners say it’s not enough

New Jersey is raising the capacity limits at performing arts centers. But there is still a long way to go on the road to fully reopen.
The capacity limits are being expanded on May 19.
“It was a half-step in the right direction,” says Basie Center for the Arts CEO Adam Phillipson.
While he is pleased with the May 19 increase to 30% of capacity for theaters like the Basie, Phillipson says the pace of reopening theaters is needlessly falling behind other businesses -- making it very difficult to bring in shows.
“I don’t know what people are thinking can happen in there. This is a safe, more controlled environment than many other environments that are being given permission. And we’re outraged,” he says.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will allow theaters to also reopen on May 19. But the Broadway League says it will still be September before shows get up and running again.
Meanwhile, Philipson says his venue will expand outdoor performances off-site as they wait to welcome full houses again.
Social distancing will still be in place and guests will have to wear masks indoors.