By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In one month, COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in Philadelphia and the city will fully reopen.

Those who work or simply enjoy the excitement of a live performance have had to go without for the last year at a time when perhaps one theater director said we may have needed that outlet the most.

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And while today’s announcement is a light at the end of the tunnel, opening night won’t happen overnight.

“The theater industry was the first one out and will be the last one back,” Philadelphia Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Paige Price said.

More than a year after COVID first shutdown the city, Philadelphia’s theatre sector is still mostly dark.

“We lost a million dollars a day just,” Price said.

By the numbers, the arts locally employ more than 7,000 people each year, with financial losses here now topping $4 billion.

“You see the people on stage, but when you think about the ancillary effects of theater going dark, it’s really devastating for a community, for all the neighborhoods,” Price said.

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And while the mayor’s lifting of all capacity restrictions on June 11 is welcome news, “The one word I would use today is whiplash because we can’t restart on a dime,” Price said.

With productions needing three to nine months lead time, and many teams still mostly furloughed, major groups including the Kimmel Cultural Campus, have already set their reopening for this fall, hoping to get back to where they left off.

“I know that we have already lost talent and I know that there have been people who already left the business because they couldn’t wait it out,” Price said.

The show must go on.

“We’re going to be there for people, and I want them to come, and we are going to take care of them spiritually, safety-wise, and I think it’s a good time to think about how we are both in it together,” Price said.

Philadelphia Theatre Company says one of their first initiatives for reopening is safety — everything from ventilation to touchless ticketing. But that they are counting on you to buy the tickets to keep the lights shining bright for a very long time.

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CBS3’s Alicia Roberts reports.