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NY’s entertainment sector saw worst decline amid pandemic

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A report released Friday puts into perspective the toll the pandemic has taken on New York City’s arts and entertainment industry.

The report from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office says the number of jobs in the city’s performing arts and recreation industry dropped by 66% in 2020, wiping out a growth of 42% in the previous decade, and then some.

The decline represented the worst fall among all sectors in the city’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the report.

The jobs categorized in the sector include a wide range of places such as museums, amusement parks, casinos and gyms.

More than 93,000 people had those jobs in 2019 and they were paid more than $7.4 billion combined.

The comptroller’s office is now recommending extending unemployment benefits for freelancers and self-employed people while ramping up the use of outdoor spaces to help bring some industries back.

It’s already been announced that Broadway theaters won’t be back up and running until June at the earliest. Until then New York State will put on hundreds of pop-up live concerts to help bring back live entertainment.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the “New York Pops Up” initiative will help accelerate the restoration of culture, arts and creative energy amid the pandemic, as well as put thousands of New Yorkers back to work.

It will include 300 events in 100 days of free “pop-up” performances, that will be available online and in-person.

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