Governor Andrew Cuomo has given in to pressure to open New York’s movie theaters again. He announced this afternoon that from March 5, theaters could reopen at 25% capacity, but with a limit of no more than 50 people per screening. The governor made clear that theaters will need to show that they have enhanced their air purification and ventilation to be allowed to open. Masks, assigned seating, and social distancing will be required.
Cuomo had been criticized last week for keeping movie theaters shuttered while he had set reopening dates for summer camps and amusement parks.
Joe Masher, CEO of Bowtie Cinemas, told Deadline last week: “We have movies on the calendar for May like Black Widow and F9: The Fast Saga. The studios need to start marketing these. We’ve seen what’s happened to the industry.”
Many theaters have upgraded to stadium seating in recent years that already distance patrons and reduce capacity. The governor’s office said in a statement that movie theater workers would not be added to the list of those eligible for vaccination at this time.
AMC confirmed that it will open all its New York City theaters on March 5 — including those on W34th and W42nd Streets. It’s unclear whether Regal Cinemas on W42nd Street will reopen at that time.. Landmark Theater on W57th Street closed permanently during the pandemic. We will update this story.