Entertainment Theater Broadway Will Extend Shutdown Through May 2021 Due to Coronavirus Pandemic This is the longest shutdown in Broadway history By Maria Pasquini Maria Pasquini Associate Editor, Human Interest - PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on October 9, 2020 10:53 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images Broadway’s reopening date has been pushed back once again. On Friday, the Broadway League — the national trade association that represents the theater industry — announced that all performances would remain shuttered through May 31, 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. “With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so. We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again,” Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, said in a statement. Broadway has been dark since March 12, when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Broadway League initially shut the theaters to help stop the spread of the global pandemic. Previously, the League had set the week of April 13 as the date when performances would resume, but has since moved back the target date numerous times. Most recently, it was expected that the shutdown, the longest in Broadway history, would end in January. Refunds and exchanges will be available for tickets purchased for all performances through May 30. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. At the time of the initial shutdown order, 31 productions were running with 8 new shows still in previews. Additionally, 8 productions were in rehearsals preparing to open in the spring. Although some shows have announced that they have closed permanently, dates for all returning and new Broadway shows will be announced at a later date. Actors' Equity Association, the national labor union representing professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has also called on Washington to pass legislation to help industry professionals. "This is a deeply painful time for everyone who depends on the arts for their livelihood,” Mary McColl, executive director for Actors’ Equity Association, said in a statement. “Too many in the industry need help now as we face another six months without work. The ongoing lack of work in the arts means we face a critical need for a federal COBRA health insurance subsidies, renewed federal unemployment benefits and arts funding. Washington must act.” The latest announcement came as the number of coronavirus cases has continued to rise in New York City. Several areas throughout Brooklyn and Queens have been identified as COVID-19 hotspots, although none have been reported in Manhattan, where Broadway is located. On Thursday, schools and non-essential businesses in hotspot areas were ordered to close. The shutdown is expected to last for at least two weeks. As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.