It has been three years since former Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a state of emergency in New York City.
This declaration lead to added safety measures in the weeks to follow, as officials tried to avoid the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging social distancing, prohibiting large in person gatherings, and requiring venues like Barclays and Madison Square Garden to shut down.
“Parades, rallies, concerts, sports events, professional conferences, etc. and all of our largest venus will now no longer have gatherings,” said de Blasio March 12, 2020.
This announcement came one day after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.
On that day, the number of COVID-19 cases had more than doubled in the city in one day, going from 53 cases to 95.
In a month’s time, that number was a thousand times higher. Hundreds of thousands more would test positive in the months following.
“We find out that 70% of the patients were calling with symptoms. That was very, very bad,” Dr. Ramon Tallaj with SOMOS Community Care said.
He recalled the early days as the organization tried to test people.
He says three years later; the focus needs to be on addressing disparities for communities of color the pandemic magnified.
“Inequity the way we saw it, we can’t see it again, can’t happen again,” said Dr. Tallaj.
One of the hardest hit industries throughout the pandemic was Broadway.
“We’ve had no known outbreaks caused by theater, and I think that’s because of the hard work that we put in,” says Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League.
Broadway stages were dark for 18 months.
Since reopening in September 2021, theaters are still working to bring back more audience members.
The Broadway League emphasized while many pandemic safety measures are relaxed, they haven’t forgotten about COVID-19
“We’re doing everything we can to keep the cast, the crew and the audience safe. And it is working. But not everybody knows that. So we want to get the word out that it is safe to come to a Broadway show,” said St. Martin.