‘Hamilton’ star opens vaccine centre for Broadway’s jobless

Lin-Manuel Miranda says it’s time for actors, ushers and set designers to roll up their sleeves

Actor Lin-Manuel Miranda speaks at the opening of the Broadway vaccination site amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in New York City, U.S., April 12, 2021.  REUTERS/Jeenah Moon
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New York City’s coronavirus-ravaged theatre community was given a much-needed shot in the arm on Monday.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the Broadway hit Hamilton, joined officials for the launch of a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Times Square to serve the city's arts community.

Addressing the event in midtown Manhattan, Miranda said he was “emotional today” and that the vaccination site would help to pave the way for reopening Broadway’s long-shut theatres.

“If you worked on Broadway or you worked off-Broadway or in theatre or in the wardrobe department, if you were stage manager or an usher ... you are welcome to this incredible facility on 47th Street, which I have just toured," he said.

The new Broadway vaccination site will serve theatre workers and film and TV employees, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“New York City is all about arts and culture,” Mr de Blasio said on Monday.

“New York City’s identity, what makes us great, one of the things that stands out is our extraordinary cultural community.”

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Broadway theatres were closed in March 2020 as New York became the global centre of the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving much of the industry’s workforce jobless and with little hope of new shows opening any time soon.

Restrictions on the industry were eased this month, but theatres and other entertainment venues are limited to 33 per cent capacity or up to 100 people indoors.

Theatres cannot make a profit with so many empty seats.

The vaccination centre was launched amid other signs of green shoots in a city that has been ravaged by the pandemic, with layoffs, lockdowns, a mass departure of residents and a death toll of 32,000.

Mr de Blasio also announced on Monday that 51,000 New York City public school pupils who have been learning remotely for the past year will be able to return to classrooms this month.

New York on Monday announced it would no longer require international travellers to enter quarantine, although it continued to recommend they do, in what could boost its vital tourism sector.