This Week in New Haven (March 16 – ?)

N ormally, we spend our Mondays highlighting things to see and places to go in the week ahead.

This week—given an unprecedented number of closures, cancellations, postponements and other evolving responses to the coronavirus pandemic, whose first known local cases were confirmed on Saturday—it makes more sense to highlight places you can’t or maybe shouldn’t go.

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Summer Study at Yale Divinity School

In an email last week, Mayor Elicker announced the closure of “all New Haven Public Schools, senior centers and libraries indefinitely”; yesterday, he announced the closure of City Hall itself, at least to the public, amid a broader state of emergency declaration.

Local universities have asked students not to return to campus from spring break and instead to resume the semester online. That includes Yale, whose major public-facing cultural institutions—the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, the Peabody Museum—have closed to the public. So have all its libraries, including public favorites Beinecke and Sterling.

So too have the New Haven Museum, the Eli Whitney Museum, the Knights of Columbus Museum and the Institute Library.

Larger events—with exceptions made for “spiritual gathering[s] or worship service[s]”—are proscribed through April thanks to Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7, issued last Tuesday. “Throughout the State,” the order says, “gatherings of 250 people or more for social and recreational activities including, but not limited to, community, civic, leisure, or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; movie screenings; plays or performances; conventions; and similar activities; are prohibited. Such prohibition shall remain in effect until midnight on April 30, 2020, unless modified by a future Executive Order.”

That dovetails with cancellations at Long Wharf Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, the Shubert Theatre and College Street Musical Hall. The Yale School of Music has canceled a month’s worth of public concerts, while additional postponements may be imminent for the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, which has pledged to follow state and city guidance in the weeks to come.

A downtown walk yesterday revealed that many smaller sources of leisure—mainly bars and restaurants—are still cooking or at least pouring, despite a separate emergency order cutting their allowed capacity by half. Businesses like these might not be able to weather weeks or months of closure, and the same goes for the thousands of people they employ across the city.

That doesn’t mean the coronavirus scare won’t interfere with the events they often host. A quick scroll through the calendar of night-in, night-out live music stalwart Cafe Nine, for example, reveals a handful of postponements over the next month or so. For another example, Nine’s neighbor, Firehouse 12, has decided to move its weekly spring jazz concert series online until further notice. Whether or not audiences doused with coronavirus warnings and social distancing encouragements would have shown up is anybody’s guess.

A pandemic like this has the ability to disrupt just about everything, and that includes Daily Nutmeg. In an effort to keep our own operation in good health amid editorial rain checks and sponsor postponements, our plan for now is to spend the next weeks mostly reaching into our own archives, pulling out stories and images that you may find even more insightful or restorative in the current climate.

And you won’t even have to break quarantine to do it.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims.

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Dan has worked for a couple of major media companies, but he likes Daily Nutmeg best. As DN’s editor, he writes, photographs, edits and otherwise shepherds ideas into fully realized feature stories.

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