COVID-19 was a master of shutting down everyday life last year. Its method of infection was so common that it became necessary to remove any reason for mass gatherings. Businesses that encouraged crowds were closed through most of 2020, particularly movie theaters. That led to many blockbusters from major studios hanging in the air, waiting for this year or taking the streaming road upon release. The year 2021 is still not clear of COVID, but it appears the situation is no longer as dire as before. That might explain why the Governor of New York is now okay with letting NYC cinemas open next month.
CNBC tells us that New York state governor Andrew Cuomo has given permission for cinemas in New York City to reopen beginning March 5. This comes almost a full year since they were originally close at the start of the global COVID pandemic. But it is not as if there was any choice, with Cuomo needing to revitalize economy for his state and the Big Apple being a massive piece of that economy. Not just theaters, but also arenas are being prepped for reopening next month, so long as they follow some COVID safety regulations.
The most important regulation for the reopening of cinemas in New York City is that the audience capacity is locked at 25%, and this applies for locations in the rest of the state. This usually means that every movie screening must have no more than 50 people, with tickets at assigned seating to maintain social distance and mandatory facemasks. Cinema staff must also be on hand to control the movement of moviegoers to and from their seats and make sure they follow health regulations. Furthermore, cinemas must also invest in air filtration, ventilation and purification equipment to minimize COVID risk.
A statement from the National Association of Theater Owners expressed joy at the announcement of NYC cinemas reopening, and they hope that it will be the trend for other movie-houses across the country. “New York City is a major market for movie-going in the U.S.” their statement read. “Re-opening there gives confidence to film distributors in setting and holding their theatrical release dates, and is an important step in the recovery of the entire industry,”
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