The entertainment industry prepared Thursday for an unprecedented shutdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, canceling upcoming movies, suspending all Broadway performances and eliminating live audiences from television shows until it's safe to welcome crowds back, the AP reports. To accommodate calls for social distancing, Hollywood moved to pause the normal hum of TV productions and the bustle of red-carpet movie premieres. After New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned gatherings of more than 500 people, Broadway theaters announced that they would close immediately and remain dark through April 12. The closures amount to a nearly complete halting of the industry, from Lincoln Center to Hollywood, and the largest-scale shutdown of many of the country's major arteries of culture.
The upcoming A Quiet Place 2 and the latest Fast & Furious movie joined the many postponements that have erased much of the upcoming movie release calendar. The Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall all canceled events through March 31. The dawning awareness of the virus' reach had already forced the cancellation or postponement of all major imminent events on the calendar, including South by Southwest, CinemaCon, Coachella, and a number of concert tours. Across Hollywood, the usual machinations of show business, from auditions to rehearsals, were grinding to a halt. Apple's The Morning Show was among the many productions put on hiatus; production on the next season of Survivor was postponed; late night shows and game shows are taping without audiences. Central Casting closed its offices. Film festivals and awards shows were canceled or postponed; museums were shutting down; Madison Square Garden could be closed for months. (And the sports world has come to a screeching halt.)