The declaration stipulates that exhibitors will be limited to 25% overall capacity with no more than 50 patrons allowed per screen. Masks, social-distancing, and other safety protocols that most other businesses in the state are adhering to must also be in place.
The development is a widely welcomed one for an embattled industry, one that is every bit as synonymous with the culture of the city as Broadway or professional sports. Theaters throughout the rest of the state were allowed to open some five months prior, in October, though many are operating with limited days and showtimes, while all are operating at reduced capacity.
Covid infection rates throughout New York City, however, were typically elevated compared to the suburban or rural regions of the state, leading officials to err on the side of caution with regard to congregating in closed venues. Now, however, infection rates in the city are at their lowest point since November.
In addition to the reduced capacity, theaters will have to also abide by air filtration and purification standards previously specified by the DOJ. Alternatively, unlike with Madison Square Garden and the Barclay’s Center, which were each given the green light to open later this month, no Covid-19 testing will be required for patrons.
Gov. Cuomo is currently giving a live press conference with reporters providing further details. Stay tuned to this space for updates.