New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that movie theaters outside of New York City will be allowed to open beginning Oct. 23.
During a press briefing on Saturday morning, Cuomo said that movie theaters not located in the city can open at 25% capacity with a limit of 50 people per screening if they meet state safety regulations.
Only counties that have an average COVID-19 infection rate lower than 2% over 14 days and no cluster zones will be allowed to open their theaters. Masks, assigned and socially distant seating and additional staff to enforce the new rules will be required, in addition to air filtration, purification and ventilation standards.
Movie theater owners in New York state have been pleading with Cuomo over the past few weeks, urging him to allow for them to safely reopen. On Wednesday, the executive committee of the Global Cinema Federation wrote an open letter addressed to Cuomo asking him to soften his stance.
“We recognize your commitment to ensuring that the citizens of New York remain safe and protected from COVID-19. With certain zip codes in New York seeing spikes of the virus, we are, of course, not suggesting that you open the entire state at once. We are, however, requesting that you adopt a plan similar to that in California, where Governor Newsom has allowed openings on a county-by-county basis according to virus data,” the letter said, which was signed by leaders from AMC, Cinemark, Cineplex and Cineworld, in addition to other large chains from around the world.