Times Square’s famous billboards momentarily went dark for one minute on Wednesday at 9 p.m. in an effort to show support for restaurants, hospitality businesses and non-profits during the coronavirus crisis.
The blackout was staged in a joint effort by the Business Interruption Group,Times Square Alliance and the NYC Hospitality Alliance. The groups believe restaurants, hospitality businesses and nonprofits need more support to survive the coronavirus crisis. The blackout took place from 46th Street to 48th Street on Broadway and the entire corner of 47th and 7th Avenue, surrounding Duffy Square. It was a call for more help for restaurants from government, and crucially to force it to take a harder line against insurance companies, who are refusing to pay business interruption costs, claiming force majeure, or that the pandemic was unforeseen and therefore impossible to include as cover in their risk assessment. After the momentary blackout, Whoopi Goldberg, Rabbi Marvin Hier of the global Jewish Human Rights Group Simon Wiesenthal Center, Chef Eric Ripert of famed restaurant Le Bernardin, Broadway actress and singer Liz Dutton and local business leaders came together in a video message and issued a call to action to the federal government and insurance companies.