Kevin P. Coughlin | Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
As coronavirus cases surge in parts of the state, Governor Cuomo unveils the long-awaited reopening plan for one of New York’s longest shuttered industries.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled reopening guidelines Saturday for the reopening of movie theaters across the state. Restrictions are tight, as cinemas are considered high-risk indoor entertainment, so there’s a lot for your local theater to do before you can catch the latest blockbuster — if you’re comfortable with that, that is.
When Can Movie Theaters Reopen?
The whole plan officially goes into effect starting Friday, October 23.
Where Are Movie Theaters Open?
This one gets a bit trickier.
Theaters will be permitted to reopen only outside of NYC, but only in counties that have no cluster zones and in which the 14-day average infection rate remains below 2%. (So no Orange and Rockland Counties right now.)
What Are the Restrictions for Movie Theaters in New York?
- Masks are required at all times, unless seated and eating/drinking.
- All theaters MUST use assigned seating
- Social distancing will be enacted between groups
- Additional staff will be required to control occupancy, traffic, and seating guidelines are met.
- Theaters must utilize enhanced filtration and airflow systems.
Moreover, theaters will be restricted to 25% total capacity, with a maximum of 50 people per screening room.
NEW: Starting October 23, movie theaters outside of NYC can reopen at 25% capacity with up to 50 people per screen.
There will be mandatory social distancing and other precautions. pic.twitter.com/QKmKvuyTy2
— Archive: Governor Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 17, 2020
What Are Theaters Saying?
“We are thankful for the community support we’ve received over the past several months and can’t wait to welcome guests back to the movies. In preparation for our reopening, the health and safety of our employees, volunteers and guests is paramount. The Playhouse will continue to follow the recommendations and guidelines of health experts. With the measures we’ve put in place, we believe we will provide a safe movie-going experience for all.”
— Michael “Hoagy” Hoagland, Executive Director, Bedford Playhouse
“The Picture House Regional Film Center was thrilled with Governor Cuomo’s announcement over the weekend allowing movie theaters in our region to reopen on Friday, October 23. Over the past few months we’ve been working to prepare our theater for reopening and are now just awaiting the specific details from the state so we can exceed expectations and ensure that our audience feels comfortable and completely safe when they return.”
— Laura deBuys, President and Executive Director of The Picture House Regional Film Center
“Given the good news from Gov. Cuomo allowing us to reopen soon, we are thoughtfully planning the details of programming, staffing, and —most importantly—keeping our patrons and our employees safe. We will continue to monitor the Covid-19 infection rate data in local and nearby communities to ensure that we are moving forward carefully and with everyone’s health paramount in our plans. Please stay tuned for more details as we finalize and share our reopening.”
— Denise Treco, Director of Communications and Marketing at the Jacob Burns Film Center