ENDICOTT, NY – Governor Cuomo announced over the weekend that he would start allowing movie theaters to reopen in most of the state, but not in Broome or Tioga Counties.
On Saturday, Cuomo announced that theaters could reopen at 25% capacity, starting this Friday, under a variety of safety restrictions.
They include movie-goers wearing masks unless they are seated and eating or drinking, assigned seating, social distancing in the lobby and theaters and enhanced air filtration systems.
The Governor’s order excludes New York City and a dozen Upstate counties, mostly in the Southern Tier, including Broome, Tioga, Cortland, Chemung and Steuben.
Theaters in our area will be allowed to reopen once the positivity rate drops below 2% over a 14 day average and when there are no longer state-designated COVID clusters.
Amber Gregory, owner of CinemaSaver in Endicott, says she still plans to shutter her business for the winter starting Sunday, despite the possibility that Broome County theaters could get permission to reopen in the coming weeks.
CinemaSaver had been offering curbside pickup of popcorn and slushies and had been approved for limited family parties.
But Gregory says the overhead cost of utilities and maintenance contracts for the projectors and elevator make it too expensive to wait it out.
Plus, the film studios aren’t releasing new material to screen, even in second run.
National chain Regal Cinemas, which has a location across from SUNY Broome, has closed all of its theaters for that reason as well.