On March 5, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced at a press conference on Monday that movie theaters in New York City will be allowed to open for the first time in nearly a year.
The theater is only allowed to operate at 25% of its maximum capacity, with no more than 50 people per screening. Masks are mandatory and theaters must allocate seats to customers to ensure proper social distancing. No need to test for viruses.
Cinemas were allowed to open in other parts of the state in late October with similar restrictions, but were excluded from New York City due to concerns that the density of New York City would accelerate the spread of the virus in the state.
The economic impact of the pandemic is particularly pronounced in New York City, one of the largest film markets in the United States. As the area became the epicenter of the pandemic in the country, the city’s theaters closed in mid-March.
Although other indoor businesses, including restaurants, bowling alleys and museums are allowed to open in the city, Mr. Cuomo has been shutting down the movie theaters due to concerns that people will spend hours indoors in poorly ventilated theaters, which may further spread the virus.
An open theater will require an enhanced air filtration system. Public health experts say that when considering indoor gatherings, the quality of ventilation is key because the virus is known to spread more easily indoors.
The National Association of Theater Owners praised Mr. Cuomo’s announcement.
“New York City is the main market for movies in the United States; the association said in a statement: “The reopening there gives film distributors the confidence to determine and maintain their drama release dates. This is an important step in the recovery of the entire film industry. “
Just a few days before the launch of this initiative, Cuomo said that indoor family entertainment centers and entertainment venues will reopen in the state on March 26, opening at 25% of the maximum capacity. The outdoor amusement park will be allowed to open in April, and its capacity must not exceed 33%.
The governor also said that after the state lost the billiard hall operator’s lawsuit, the state is formulating guidelines to allow swimming pools and billiards halls to reopen. He said that these places will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity with the required masks.
Despite the decline from the peak in January, the number of cases in New York is still high. In the past 7 days, as of Sunday, the state averaged 38 cases per 100,000 residents per day. After South Carolina, this is the second highest per capita incidence rate of new cases in the country last week.