New York City movie theaters can start ushering in patrons beginning March 5, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday. Venues will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity, with a limit of 50 people per screening.
Though theaters in some parts of New York have been allowed to reopen already, cinemas across the city have been shuttered since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last March. Cuomo stated that the move to reopen will bring theaters in New York City “in line” with the rest of the state.
NEW: Movie theaters in New York City can reopen on March 5 at 25% capacity, with no more than 50 people per screen.
Assigned seating, social distancing and other health precautions will be in place.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) February 22, 2021
Cuomo elaborated that theatergoers will be required to wear masks, sit in assigned seating and maintain social distance. Theaters must comply with enhanced air filtration ventilation and purification standards set by the Department of Health.
AMC, the largest movie exhibition company in the United States, announced that it will reopen all of its 13 theaters in the city March 5.
“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,” AMC said in a statement.
In October, the National Association of Theatre Owners urged Cuomo to allow theaters in New York City to reopen, stating that not doing so would have grave consequences on the movie industry around the world.
“New York City is a major market for moviegoing in the U.S.,” the National Association of Theatre Owners said in a statement applauding Cuomo’s decision to allow theaters to resume operations in the city. “Re-opening there gives confidence to film distributors in setting and holding their theatrical release dates, and is an important step in the recovery of the entire industry.”
Cuomo also announced that billiard halls can reopen at reduced capacity beginning March 5. Weddings and catered events can be held at venues with 50% capacity, with a maximum of 150 people per event.