Feb. 22, 2021 By Christina Santucci
New Yorkers will soon be able to watch the latest movie on the big screen.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that theaters in New York City will be able to open at 25 percent of normal capacity beginning March 5. The state, however, will limit each screening to 50 moviegoers.
The governor said that a number of measures will have to be in place by theater operators before they can reopen.
Theaters will be required to meet enhanced air filtration and ventilation standards, as well as add staff to ensure compliance to occupancy and distancing rules.
Theater-goers will be required to wear masks while seated, and will have assigned seats to ensure social distancing.
Patrons, however, will not be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result in order to gain entry, according to reports.
During today’s announcement, Cuomo also said that billiard halls in New York City can reopen March 5 at 35 percent capacity, subject to social distancing protocols. Pool players must also wear masks.
The governor also said that weddings and catered events can be held throughout the state at 50 percent of the venue’s capacity and no more than 150 people. However, all attendees must be tested for the coronavirus.
“As I’ve said, testing is the key,” Cuomo said.
The governor had allowed movie theaters in areas with low COVID-19 positivity rates to reopen in October with similar restrictions — even as locations in the city remained closed.
In a statement provided to Variety, the National Association of Theatre Owners called the announcement “an important step in the recovery of the entire industry.”
The lobbying group said that it hoped capacity for New York City locations would be increased even higher.
“We look forward to expanding the capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent in the very near future so that theatres can operate profitably,” the group said.