The message went out to customers at 1730, minutes after Boris Johnson’s comments, urging theatres to close.
The website says: Given the developing situation with the COVID-19 virus, the Royal Opera House is currently closed
So, no Traviata tonight, no last Fidelio tomorrow.
Here’s the full public statement:
Monday 16 March 2020
Immediate closure of the Royal Opera House
The safety and security of the Royal Opera House staff, audiences and artists is of paramount importance and we take this responsibility very seriously. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the decision with a heavy heart to close the building to the public and cancel all performances in Covent Garden with immediate effect.
The staff and artists of the ROH are vital to the lifeblood of our art forms, without them we would simply not exist. This suspension of performances will impact not only our loyal audience but also our committed and talented workforce. We will work within the government guidelines to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff and artists during this difficult time.
Our employees, permanent and casual, are reliant on the income which we derive through ticket purchases. Without performances it is inevitable that we will become more reliant on philanthropic support and charitable donations.
Where possible, we ask that audiences consider donating the value of their tickets to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation rather than requesting a credit note or refund.
You can keep up to date via the ROH social media channels for announcements on the programme of free broadcasts we will bring you during this period of closure.
We thank you for your continued support of the ROH, it is invaluable during these uncertain times.
Our number one priority is to support each other during this unprecedented situation.
Alex Beard, Chief Executive
Royal Opera House