Pandemic Halts the Arts

Julianna Rosenthal, Photography Editor & Webmaster

When COVID-19 began to spread in the U.S, no industry was left unimpacted due to shutdowns and restrictions, but the entertainment industry was hit particularly hard. In March and April of 2020, sheltering commands and social isolation guidelines and restrictions caused production of television and film around the country to shut down. Due to economic effects from filming delays, quite a few television show, that may have continued had it not been for the pandemic, were cancelled. The music industry was also severely impacted as many artists had to cancel or postpone their 2020 concert and tour dates for the safety of themselves, their crews, and their audiences. Additionally, it was announced on March 12th that Broadway would also be shut down. With television, film, live theater, and live music all absent, it was as if almost the entire entertainment industry had been put on pause. Like many other events and organizations, when the entertainment industry first shut down, they gave tentative dates to return in a month or two, but as time went on and Covid cases rose, those return dates continued to be pushed off further and further.
Although the majority of the entertainment was put on hold due to Coronavirus, there is one part of the entertainment industry that remained relatively intact: the internet. Many internet influencers and content creators flourished during the quarantine period because the availability of freetime resulted in increased viewership. With so many people at home looking for ways to fill their time, Youtube and other sources of online entertainment had a major increase in usage. Even those who didn’t spend time on the internet for fun were using it to teach themselves new skills and take up new hobbies. Many employees of other parts of the entertainment industry took advantage of the internet to make profits during their time of unemployment. Many performers hosted livestream concerts, question and answer sessions, and virtual performing arts classes. These online events were great for creators to make money during trying times, while simultaneously bringing people joy and entertainment at home. Charities such as the Actor’s Fund have been raising money to help out individuals in the entertainment industry who are undergoing economic hardship due to the virus. Some artists also started using Cameo, an app that allows people to purchase personalized messages from celebrities and other influential individuals. These messages became a popular birthday present for those who had to celebrate their birthdays during the quarantine period.
Nearing the end of the summer, the film and television industry has gradually begun returning to production with safety protocols and restrictions. However, due to the dangers of large audiences in regards to spreading diseases, live shows and live theater are remaining closed. Many artists seem to plan on returning with live performances in early 2021; however, Broadway recently announced that shows will not be resuming until May 2021, the earliest. This is very troubling for Broadway actors and crewmembers economically, but it is quite clear that it is necessary for safety.
As television returns, some shows have decided to incorporate the pandemic into their storylines. For example, the recent season premiere of NBC hit show “This Is Us” recognized and incorporated the existence of the pandemic into the show without making it a key topic, while some other shows and productions have decided to keep the virus out of their fictional worlds. With Covid-19 cases beginning to increase in the U.S again, and scientists’ predictions for the hardships of this winter, many productions have decided to postpone reopening and others have shut down after just restarting. As of now, it is unclear what the future of the entertainment industry holds, but there is no denying that the Coronavirus had a significant impact on the entertainment industry.