Cinemas in the state of New York will be allowed to reopen beginning on October 23. New York City, the most important city in terms of grossing potential in the domestic market (U.S & Canada), will not be part of the initial reopening phase.
The newly released guidance permits cinemas outside of New York City to reopen in counties with less than 2 percent of positive Covid-19 cases over a 14-day average, as long as they have no cluster zones. No guidance or timeframe was provided for New York City cinemas.
Further measures include a 25 percent admissions capacity of up to 50 people per auditorium, required face-covering enforcement at all times (except when consuming concessions), reserved seating that enforces social distancing, and enhanced air filtration and ventilation standards. Theaters will be expected to have additional staff on hand to enforce those measures.
The announcement from Governor Andrew Cuomo follows a months-long effort from trade groups in lobbying state leadership for a timeframe to reopen following Covid-19 closures in March.