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Local theaters not surprised by Regal Cinemas' announcement to suspend operations

Emily De Vito
Updated: October 06, 2020 02:16 PM
Created: October 06, 2020 12:34 PM

ALBANY – Movie theater owners and employees are still digesting big news from Regal Cinemas. The movie theater giant announced it would be suspending operations at its more than 500 theaters on Thursday.

The company partly blames Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the decision to close down due to strict coronavirus guidelines in New York. However, it is not just big movie theater companies suffering.

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The Madison Theatre in Albany reopened its doors in December after renovations, but then quickly shut down due to the pandemic.

"Theaters like the Madison in Albany, they can't do this much longer," said Kevin Parisi, a partner of the Madison Theatre, talking about remaining closed. "This is not something we can sustain until next summer."

Parisi said he has had to reduce staff and is unsure of how much longer they can survive with no plan on when they could possibly reopen. Thankfully, the Madison Theatre offers dining. So they've been able to offer that to customers. He said just like restaurants, bowling alleys, and casinos movie theaters can open with strict guidelines in place. If they don’t reopen soon, the economic impact will be huge.

"Unfortunately you're going to see this huge gap in millions of square feet of vacant entertainment space, which is critical to other retail," said Parisi. "It's critical to all sorts of businesses, to restaurants in the community."

Parisi said all they are looking for is a timeline from the governor’s office.

"Even though we may get guidance we can open by Christmas or Thanksgiving, the reason you're seeing the announcement from Regal yesterday and some of these big studios is they can't just plan an opening tomorrow. They need to plan ahead," he said.

Parisi said they need to plan ahead based on when movies are being released.

Rich Azzopardi, a spokesperson from the governor’s office, released the following statement regarding movie theaters reopening in New York: "We’re moving heaven and earth trying to stop a second wave and people need to acknowledge that we’re still in a pandemic and start to act like it. We understand some people are unhappy, but you know what, better unhappy than sick or worse."


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