NEW YORK — Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced theatergoers can start purchasing tickets for Broadway shows starting Thursday as the state's reopening plans begin to take shape.
It comes as Broadway is set to reopen at 100% capacity on Sept. 14.
According to the Broadway League, specific dates for returning and new Broadway productions will be announced "in coming weeks on a show-by-show basis."
In a statement, Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said the Broadway community is "thrilled" at the plan to reopen adding, "We remain cautiously optimistic about Broadway’s ability to resume performances this fall and are happy that fans can start buying tickets again.”
"The Phantom of the Opera" became the first of Broadway's returning shows to announce a return date, saying Wednesday that it will come back on October 22. Tickets for its return go on sale Friday at 9 a.m.
Theatergoers are urged to visit broadway.org for the latest updates.
Cuomo said it has not been determined whether proof of vaccination or a negative test will be required to attend, but added that some people might want to know that the person they're sitting next to has received the shot.
"Are you willing to go into an indoor theater and sit there for two hours next to a person who you don't know if they're vaccinated or unvaccinated? I don't know that New Yorkers are going to do that," Cuomo said.
Broadway stages have been dark since last March when the pandemic brought the industry to a halt.
According to the Broadway League, 31 productions were running at the time, including eight new shows in previews and eight others in rehearsals.
During his Wednesday briefing, Gov. Cuomo also said baseball will be back starting on May 19.
He said Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will seat vaccinated fans in specified sections at full capacity. Children younger than 16 who are not vaccinated will be permitted to sit in the same section as their vaccinated family members.
"We ask them to wear masks," Cuomo said. "But you attend a ballgame like you attended a ballgame two years ago."
Unvaccinated adults will be required to sit with masks, six feet apart in specified sections capped at 33% capacity.
Some fans at Wednesday's Yankees game in the Bronx saw the policy as a compromise, and a way to let both vaccinated and unvaccinated fans enjoy a game in a safe way.
"I got vaccinated, but that's my opinion, but there’s people who dont want to be vaccinated and that’s fine," said Yankee fan Emily Dreyer.
Others raised questions about whether separate sections could actually be implemented.
"I’m still concerned about whether or not they are going to be able to see if people will be fully vaccinated or not," said Yankee fan David Gewirtz.
"It will be a logistics nightmare," said Victor Ng, another Yankee fan.
Cuomo said both teams will join with the state Department of Health to offer fans COVID-19 vaccines at the stadiums.
Those who receive vaccines at the stadium facilities will also receive a free ticket to the game.
“I think the free ticket idea is going to get a lot of people to come down here,” said Kyle Coppola, a Yankee fan at Wednesday's game.