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Theater, Stadium Workers Concerned As Coronavirus Prompts Limits On Gatherings

CHICAGO (CBS) -- From sports stadiums to stage theaters, venues are closing doors over concerns about coronavirus.

That means workers have been left scrambling to make money.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported, there was a final show at the Goodman Theatre on Randolph Street on Thursday night. The crowd that left the Goodman will be final for at least 30 days – as theaters, along with sporting arenas, will shut down to control the spread.

But the closures leave employees with just as much uncertainty.

Kobie Robinson works part-time at the United Center and Guaranteed Rate Field. He checks tickets and helps people to their seats.

With the NBA suspending its season, and now with Gov. JB Pritzker banning gatherings of 1,000 or more, the Kennedy-King College student found himself caught up in the coronavirus outbreak.

"At first I thought it was like a cold - random people catching it," Robinson said. "But now, it's affecting me, and I haven't even caught it."

Robinson isn't quarantined and he doesn't know anyone with the virus. But he will be off work at the two sports stadiums for at least 30 days, and he could be without work until May.

He's not even worried primarily about the virus itself.

"I'm more worried about it affecting my paper," he said.

And Robinson's worries are echoed by thousands like him. They all depend on fans walking into arenas to make ends meet.

But the state and city crowd mandates have shut down theaters.

We spotted guards outside the Chicago Theatre, and signs telling ticketholders there won't be curtain call for several weeks.

The executive director of the League of Chicago Theaters said, "COVID-19 will have a significant financial impact on our industry in the near and long-term."

But workers like Robinson hope it's over sooner than later.

"I just hope maybe they can find a cure for it and start events back and open things back up," he said.

While the Chicago Theatre halted shows Thursday night, Goodman Theatre will suspend all shows starting Friday.

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