NJ will allow movie theaters and “indoor performance venues” to reopen on Friday
While New York is still being very cautious about reopening amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey is moving further towards it, with Governor Phil Murphy announcing today that indoor dining, movie theaters and "indoor performance venues" will be allowed to reopen on Friday, September 4, just in time for Labor Day Weekend, with reduced capacity and other safety precautions.
For movie theaters and "indoor performance venues," it means 25% capacity but no more than 150 people. Groups can sit together but others must be six feet apart, and masks must be worn at all times, but they can be pulled down for eating and drinking concessions. NBC 4 notes that it is unclear what exactly "indoor performance venues" means, "whether it included nightclubs or other such businesses."
As for NJ restaurants, it's also 25% capacity, and safety precautions include six feet distance between tables at restaurants, staff must wear masks at all times, diners must wear masks when not at tables, and food and beverages may only be consumed while seated. Also: no salad bars or buffets.
Meanwhile, in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is still trying to tamp down partying on the street, says the state is still looking at the data and he's not ready to bring back indoor dining to NYC just yet. "It is something we are watching, and we are considering," Cuomo said during Monday's press conference call. "I want as much economic activity as quickly as possible. We also want to make sure the transmission rate stays under control. That is the tension. We're trying to find the balance, and we're calibrating every day. By law, it is a state decision."
The reopening of NJ movie theaters comes just in time for the two biggest movie openings we've had since lockdown: Christopher Nolan's Tenet on September 3 and Disney's live-action Mulan remake on September 4. While Mulan will also be rentable on the Disney+ streaming app, Tenet is in theaters only. Nolan's film opened last week in other countries and earned a respectable $53 million in 41 foreign markets.
Meanwhile, California is allowing movie theaters to reopen in some markets, like San Francisco and San Diego.