People can work out in gyms again and shop in malls. Soon they'll be able to gamble in casinos.
But watching a blockbuster on big screen is out of reach in New York as the state's gradual reopening is yet to touch those establishments.
More than a dozen lawmakers this week signed onto a letter backing the reopening of movie theaters as the rate of new infections from the coronavirus pandemic has remain below 1% in New York for nearly a month.
“Up to 10,000 movie theater employees statewide have been laid-off or furloughed, and small, locally owned movie theaters are looking at permanent closure as movie theaters remain closed across New York State,” said Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy.
“Across the country small businesses are being forced to close for good as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our economy. In communities throughout New York but especially Upstate, locally-owned movie theaters are a critical part of downtowns and ‘Main Streets’ where foot traffic and other amenities drive our local economies. These establishments need state guidance to reopen in regions where it is safe to do so in order to stem the tidal wave of closures facing our small business community throughout the state.”
When movie theaters do reopen, they would likely do so under similar guidelines for other indoor venues: Capacity would be limited and owners would have to install air filtration units that have shown the ability to take coronavirus particles out of the air.
Forty-two states have allowed limited reopenings of movie theaters, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, which all border New York.
“Thanks to every state legislator and local official who have supported our efforts to reopen movie theaters in New York," said Joe Masher, President of the National Association of Theater Owners of New York State and Chief Operating officer of Bow Tie Cinemas.
"We believe we have the right plan in place to properly reopen movie theaters safely, keeping patron safety of paramount concern. From contactless ticketing/concessions and assigned seating, social distancing protocols inside each auditorium, and increased cleaning and sanitizing, we are ready to open. If retailers, restaurants, malls, gyms, and bowling alleys are now open, there is no reason for theaters not to reopen."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on Thursday, announced casinos could reopen next week under limited circumstances, including 25% capacity along with barriers installed for table games as well as the air filtration system.
Indoor malls can also reopen next Wednesday in New York City at half capacity, Cuomo said.