Almost a year to the date after the lights went out in response to the coronavirus pandemic, New York City’s movie theaters will be reopening on March 5.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new round of lockdown easing today, including pool halls, weddings and catered events. Previously the governor announced New York City’s arenas including Madison Square Garden would begin inviting fans back, though movie theater attendees will not be required to have a COVID-19 test as fans at large arenas will be. Outdoor amusement parks can open on April 9.
Movie theaters have opened elsewhere in the country and also in New York state, though only in a minority of counties. Members of the audience will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing inside the theater with staff on hand to enforce safety protocols. In addition, capacity is capped at 25% for an absolute maximum of 50 people in attendance at any time. Indoor dining caps will also be increased to 35% starting this Friday.
The greater New York area represents about 7% of all box office gross in the United States, second only to Los Angeles.
There is still no word on nightclubs which are, in the words of the National Independent Venue Association, the first to close and last to re-open. In the UK today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a lockdown “roadmap” which suggests that could happen as soon as June. A week ago he floated the idea that “rapid testing” could pave the way for a rejuvenated nightlife.
Last week, promoters Paxahau announced that Detroit’s Movement Festival will not happen in May 2021 and declined to set a future date.