Cuomo green lights NYC theaters’ reopening


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Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

The days of ordering fan favorite snacks while viewing movies can soon return to New York City.

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo made an announcement on Monday that movie theaters operating in New York City can reopen in March.

Theaters in both New York City and New York State have been shut down since the height of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March 2020.

Starting March 5, New York City theaters will reopen with a maximum capacity of 25%. A 25% capacity in large theater venues means that only 50 people will be allowed in each room per screening.

All attendees must wear masks and comply with assigned seating, which will help to continue the practice of social distancing. Movie theaters will also have installed advanced air filtration systems.

No COVID-19 test will be required for attendees, Deadline reported.

New York is a popular location for the for the music and film industries. New York and California make up 21.5% of all U.S. box office audiences. The goal of reaching billions in revenue at the box office may seem like a fantasy in the current stage of the pandemic, even as vaccines are being approved.

A CNN report corroborates this point, expressing that turning a profit at only 25% capacity will be a challenge for the next few months.

With the dream of reopening now becoming a reality, top executives at studios such as The Walt Disney Company and Universal Pictures remain worried about the timing of upcoming big releases like Marvel Studios’ Black Widow and F9. Both movies are scheduled to release in May 2021.

AMC Theaters, the country’s largest movie theater chain, said that all 13 of its New York locations will open exactly on March 5. The chain’s CEO, Adam Aron, spoke about the recent news.

“Governor Cuomo’s announcement that movie theatres can reopen in New York City in the first week of March is another important step towards restoring the health of the movie theatre industry and of our company,” Aron said.

AMC reopened its theaters back in August 2020 after closing in March, welcoming 10 million moviegoers nationwide without a single case of coronavirus being detected, according to AMC.

It is noteworthy that theaters outside of New York City have been reopened for quite some time. It was October 2020 when Cuomo announced that theaters in the New York state were allowed to reopen with strict COVID-19 guidelines.

Late in the 2020, studios experimented with the idea of simultaneous releases of movies that were predicted to make big numbers if the pandemic did not happen.

Disney did this with the live-action movie Mulan, releasing it on Disney+ for an extra charge. HBO Max also gave their viewers a Christmas surprise with the release Wonder Woman 1984.

Shawn Robbins, the chief box office analyst at, told CNN that reopening of theaters is a “massive step forward.”

“We’re talking about a massive step forward for the business,” Robbins said. “This is the next noteworthy benchmark in the transition back to some sense of normality… Once the two biggest players with New York and L.A. are back on the field, sustained revitalization will follow.”