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Radio City Cancels Remaining 'Christmas Spectacular' Shows Due To COVID

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes are the latest New York City tradition forced to cancel because of COVID.

Performances of "The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes" have been canceled for the rest of the season due to breakthrough cases. The announcement came hours after Radio City canceled all four of its Friday performances.

Fabiana Ruggiero and her family had planned their trip on Friday for months, taking the train from East, Haven, Connecticut, to see the "Christmas Spectacular," only to get here and find out the show was canceled.

"I was really looking forward to it, and then it got canceled," Fabiana Ruggiero told CBS2's Andrea Grymes.

"That was terrible. They were very disappointed," Frank Ruggiero said.

"That's really sad because we came all the way from Guatemala to see the Rockettes, and we're not gonna be able to see them," tourist Paulina Gamalero said.

  • CLICK HERE for more information about the Rockettes cancellation and refunds.

Earlier, the city said it would be sending inspectors to Radio City Music Hall, after reports that it wasn't enforcing the vaccination rule for kids ages 5-11. Madison Square Garden, which owns Radio City, said it would comply.

"Everyone's got to follow this mandate," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "It's a serious mandate and it's a very simple mandate. "

Breakthrough cases have already forced the closure of several Broadway shows this week, and the annual New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square could be in jeopardy.

"Ain't Too Proud -- The Life and Times of the Temptations," "Hamilton," "MJ The Musical," "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Tina -- The Tina Turner Musical" all canceled all performances through at least Sunday.

"Hadestown" and "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" also had canceled performances on Friday and Saturday.

"Losing income after not having had income for so long puts every show everywhere at risk," said Howard Sherman, a U.S. columnist with "The Stage" newspaper.

As these COVID closures continue to affect shows, the Broadway League has set up a website to help theatergoers find out which productions have made cancelations. You can find the list at

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater also canceled all remaining performances due to COVID cases within the company.


City officials and residents are now taking steps to protect against a frightening jump in infections. Cases doubled in the last few days, and the positivity rate is almost 8%.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said she's concerned because New York state went from just under 9,000 COVID cases on Monday to 21,000 cases Thursday. But the "silver lining," she says, is that hospitalizations are low at about 3,800.

The governor and the mayor do not want another shut down.

"There's this truism, 'Never fight yesterday's war.' This is not March of 2020. We are one of the most highly vaccinated places in the United States of America," de Blasio said. "The more we vaccinate, the more we can get through this, and the great danger here is shutdowns and restrictions because that would really destroy, in so many ways, people's livelihoods."

De Blasio called for the city to distribute one million K-95 masks for free, launch a media campaign to promote boosters, and increase inspections to enforce the state's mask mandate.

"We need to be very aggressive. This variant moves fast, we need to move faster," he said.

Watch John Dias' report -- 

CBS2's John Dias spoke with people Friday at a COVID testing site with a long line wrapped around the block in Times Square.

"I feel like everyone has COVID, and I'm just trying to be safe," Midtown resident Jessica Pellegrini said. "This week has been crazy."

"My roommate just got exposed, he has COVID," said Midtown resident Beau Speer.

Experts say the surge is partly fueled by the Omicron variant, with many people getting tested before they head home for the holidays.

"We are going to visit older parents, and they seem pretty worried," Megi Hakobjanyan, of the Upper East Side, said.


Roosevelt Island resident Jose Montoya said he is getting tested five consecutive days before he flies to visit family in Brazil.

"I want to be negative every day until I leave," he told Dias. "The grandmother of my partner is 96, we're going to be spending Christmas. My in-laws are elder, so yeah, you need to think of others."

Epidemiologists say weak side effects are more common with the Omicron variant in breakthrough cases.

"If we can turn Omicron, if we can turn COVID into something like the common cold through vaccination, that's a win," said Dr. Celine Gounder. "We're well on our way to doing that, but everybody needs to get vaccinated to get there."

Dr. Gounder said the only way to hit the fast forward button on the pandemic is: "We really need to start looking out for one another, thinking of ourselves as one another's neighbors."

CBS2's John Dias contributed to this report. Editor's note: This story was first published on Dec. 17.

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