New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday that movie theaters in the state would be allowed to reopen on Friday, October 23 at 25% capacity, a maximum of 50 people in any theater, and enhanced ventilation systems. Patrons must wear masks at all times unless eating or drinking.

This excludes NYC, though. Cuomo said movie theaters will only be allowed to open if the COVID infection rate in the area they are in has stayed below 2% for 14 days and has no cluster zones. The only movie theaters open in the city currently are drive-ins.

Still, this is welcome news for theater owners who have been struggling since lockdown in March. “The reopening of movie theaters around the country is essential to the theatrical industry and the entire entertainment ecosystem. It has become clear that movie studios are not willing to release blockbuster product until key major markets are open,” said AMC CEO Adam Aron in a statement. “Therefore, it is a monumental step in the right direction for our entire industry that theatres are starting to open across the state of New York. We thank Governor Cuomo and local leaders in our New York communities for allowing guests to return to AMC at several locations throughout the state. We continue to work closely with state and local authorities about the reopening of New York City, which we now hope with increasing confidence is not far away.”

Most major Hollywood releases -- like Spielberg's remake of West Side Story, Denis Villeneuve's Dune, new James Bond film No Time To Die, and Wonder Woman 1984 -- have moved their opening dates to 2021, and the Regal chain temporarily shut down all its theaters this month because they could not provide customers "with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theaters against the backdrop of Covid-19."

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