NEW YORK — Movie theaters in New York City will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity next month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a conference call on Monday.
The change will go into effect on March 5 and will follow the restrictions already in place elsewhere in the state, according to Cuomo.
Cuomo went on to say that each theater can have no more than 50 people in it, and that social distancing, masks, assigned seating and other safety precautions will be required.
It’s been nearly a year since Nicolas Nicolaou welcomed moviegoers into Cinema Village, one of three theaters he owns across the five boroughs. So, Cuomo's announcement is welcomed news.
“Movies make you dream. I know people say movie theaters are not essential, but we are human beings with a soul, and really good movies inspire people. They give them a look at what life could be,” he said.
Nicolaou has dedicated most of his life to this business. His family settled in Astoria after they immigrated here from Greece when he was 12 years old. He got a job selling tickets at Cinema Village after school, and dreamed of owning it one day. Now, he does — and also owns a theater in Brooklyn and another in Queens.
“The fact is, you will not make a dime. You will lose money operating at 25%. But at least, we are starting safely,” he said.
The press conference then turned to a lawsuit the governor recently lost over the reopening of some New York billiard halls, which were shut down in March of 2020 in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The pool halls had argued it's unfair that other hospitality and entertainment venues had been allowed to reopen but they were refused the same opportunities to do so.
The governor announced they will be allowed to reopen March 5 at 50% capacity outside the city, 35% capacity within the city, and with stringent safety measures put in place in order to keep patrons safe.