New York City movie theaters to reopen in early March

After nearly a year of closures, New York City movie theaters will open their doors again at limited capacity starting March 5, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday.

Reopening rules for the city’s movie theaters include:

  • Venues are restricted to 25% capacity, with no more than 50 people per screen at a time.
  • Masks will be required except when seated and eating or drinking.
  • Assigned seating will be required.
  • Social distancing will be required at all times.
  • Additional staffing will be required to control occupancy, traffic, and seating.
  • Enhanced air filtration, ventilation, and purification standards must be met.

National Association of Theater Owners spokesperson Patrick Corcoran said. “New York City is a major market for movie-going in the U.S. Re-opening there gives the confidence to film distributors in setting and holding their theatrical release dates and is an important step in the recovery of the entire industry.”

Monday’s announcement is welcome news for beleaguered theater owners, after domestic ticket sales fell to a nearly 40-year low last year due to the pandemic. Though smaller films continue to open in theaters where available, the next major theatrical release on the calendar is Disney/Marvel’s “Black Widow” May 7, just over a year after its originally scheduled release last May.

Broadway, however, is still closed and it is unclear when those theaters can reopen given that producers are skeptical they can operate profitably with limited capacity.

Theaters in the nation’s other biggest movie market, Los Angeles, are still shuttered with no known plans to reopen.

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