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NY movie theaters, excluding NYC, can reopen Friday

Emily Burkhard
Created: October 17, 2020 11:18 PM

SCHENECTADY - On Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced movie theaters will be allowed to reopen as early as October 23.

NewsChannel 13 spoke with a local theater  owner about when he hopes to have customers back in the seats.

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"In a word we are ecstatic at the governor's announcement today, I mean it's a big step in getting our industry rebooted,” said Joseph Masher, COO of Bow Tie Cinemas and President of the National Association of Theater Owners of New York.

Masher, a Troy native, he said for months he and other theater officials have been getting guidance on how to re-open safely from CinemaSafe.org.

He said they recommend wearing masks at all times, except while eating. Concessions can pre-ordered or purchased on site. Theater capacities will be reduced to 25 percent, with a maximum of 50 people in each showing. Seats will be assigned when tickets are purchased. Groups will have a few seats separating them from other parties and every other row will be left vacant.

Showtimes will also be staggered to minimize traffic in the lobby at once.

Masher said so far, these measures have worked perfectly.

"We are open in 48 other states right now and you know we can do it safely there have been zero Covid cases attributed to a movie theater anywhere in the world,” Masher said.

Because so many theaters were closed this summer, many big premieres have been postponed to next year. But, if theaters in New York City, the two market in the country, open sometime soon those premieres may be moved up.

Masher is also hoping to capitalize on bigger crowds over the holidays.

"So hopefully by Christmas we will be able to have our capacities up but we need to get New York City open pretty soon in order to keep Wonder Woman, which is the big prize for Christmas time on the schedule from being pushed,” Masher said.

He said in the meantime, there are plenty of new movies to see on the big screen.

"All the smaller studios have really stepped in and pushed product out to the theaters in 48 states that are allowed to open and they're doing pretty well,” Masher said.

Though Bow Tie will look to reopen as soon as possible, officials with Regal Cinemas said they plan to close all 536 locations across the nation. It's still unclear if Cuomo's announcement Saturday will change that decision.

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 13 for updates on the story.


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