Governor Cuomo announced Monday that NYC movie theaters will be able to reopen at a 25% capacity on March 5.
Theaters will be limited to a maximum of 50 people, and moviegoers will have to wear masks and sit in assigned seats to ensure proper social distancing.
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
It’s been almost a year since NYC residents could enjoy a movie on the big screen, though the rest of NY State opened theaters in October 2020, with similar restrictions.
Since the onset of the pandemic, all forms of live entertainment have struggled, movie theaters included.
AMC Entertainment, which owns the 84th and 68th Street theaters, has been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the March 2020 closing of indoor theaters may have sparked the reincarnation of the drive-in theater, potential NYC locations which would allow for outdoor viewing (and have the space for cars) are few and far between.
Movie theaters have remained closed for longer than other industries as Cuomo has felt allowing people to sit indoors in poorly-ventilated theaters would have been too great a risk.
We reached out to AMC and a representative told us the company is planning to reopen all thirteen of its NYC theaters on March 5. This includes their Lincoln Square and 84th Street theaters.
“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. We are excited to announce that AMC, the largest movie theatre exhibitor in New York City, will reopen all 13 of our theatres in New York City beginning March 5. We will do so with the highest devotion to the health and safety of our guests and associates through our AMC Safe & Clean policies and protocols, which were developed in consultation with Clorox and with current and former faculty at the prestigious Harvard University School of Public Health. AMC Safe & Clean includes social distancing & automatic seat blocking in each auditorium, mandatory mask wearing, and upgraded air filtration with MERV-13 air filters, as well as many other important health, sanitization and cleanliness efforts.”Adam Aron, CEO and President of AMC Entertainment
The state is also working on new guidelines for pool and billiard halls, which have also been closed since March 2020. This comes after the state lost a lawsuit brought forth by 16 operators of these venues.