Virus darkens stages, silences orchestras across the US

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A few visitors walk around an Egyptian exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. New York state is shuttering schools and houses of worship for two weeks in part of a suburb and sending the National Guard there to help respond to what appears to be the nation's biggest cluster of cases of the coronavirus.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The stage at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle is quiet. There is no music coming from the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the members of Pearl Jam won't tour. There is no one to admire the treasures at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The ongoing fears surrounding the coronavirus have shuttered places where Americans — and foreign visitors — have long gathered to escape the world and also to engage with it. Almost everything that draws crowds has now sent them all away.

Wisconsin resident Ellen Moodie, 58, found herself in New York, twice rejected. She came for the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden, but that was canceled. So she tried to catch a Broadway show, but those too were were canceled. She admitted to being a little disappointed.

“We would love to see a show but understand the situation,” she said.

The list of venues where Americans can no longer find entertainment or diversion continues to climb — so far scrapped or shuttered are everything from Coachella to Carnegie Hall, Major League Soccer, Disneyland and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Bob and Diane Erickson, of Cambridge, Minnesota, were taking no chances Thursday, hitting all of Nashville's major tourist destinations that were unaffected thus far, including The Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium.

“We’re just kind of watching it,” said Bob Erickson. “And frankly, it’s going to get bigger.”

The closures of museums and theaters and concerts come even as families find their kids locked out of school with nothing to do and arts institutions worry about keeping the lights on without ticket sales.