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Movie theaters reopen in New York State but not New York City

Andreas Praefcke | Commons Wikimedia

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that movie theaters in New York State will be reopening starting Oct. 23 but with strict COVID-19 restrictions on audience sizes.

“Beginning Oct. 23, movie theaters outside of New York City will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity with up to 50 people maximum per screen.” Governor Cuomo said at a recent press conference.

New York State then revealed safety guidelines for reopening theater venues.

Counties that have an average coronavirus infection rate of less than 2% over a 14-day time period will be allowed to open their theaters.

Movie theaters should also keep their capacities at 25%, allowing no more than 50 people in front of each screen at a theater. Six feet distancing must be enforced among people who enter the venues.

The main objective for movie theaters is to ensure that social distancing rules are not just being followed by customers, but by theater employees as well.

Physical barriers will be placed in areas where six feet distancing is impossible, like ticket stations, concession stands and cash registers.

To ensure that virus spreading on physical surfaces is kept at a minimum, touchless payments and the option to pay ahead of time is a must among the guidelines.

Movie Theaters like “The Bellmore Movie and Showplace” in Bellmore, Long Island, are just one of few theaters that will be reopening their doors.

Movie Theater chains have become financially strapped since the start of the pandemic. The announcement of theater venues being allowed to reopen is music to the venue owners’ ears.

Anne Stampfel, owner of the “Bellmore Movie and Showplace,” found relief in the announcement.

“It’s a start, it’s a cash flow,” Stampfel said.

To follow COVID-19 guidelines, Stampfel installed a new air filtration system in the theater and added hand sanitizer dispensers in several areas of it.

Other cinemas venues are gearing up for a comeback as well, according to a report from Deadline.

Theaters in other areas, including Northern New Jersey and Fairfield Connecticut, are reopening as well, but theaters venues in New York City will remain closed for the time being.

Joseph Masher, the current President of NATO New York and CEO of family-owned Bowtie Cinemas, expressed hope that New York City theaters will reopen soon.

“Hopefully they’ll let Manhattan open sooner rather than later as the infection rate meets their definition for opening,” said Masher.

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Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
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