Gyms have reopening dates, but movie theaters are still in the dark

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–While gyms have the OK to start reopening next Monday, businesses like movie theaters are still left in the dark. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says gyms are more essential than movie theaters, and that’s left theater owners with little hope about hearing when they’ll get to reopen.

One theater owner says his patience is running out. Ray Barker at the Buffalo-area North Park Theatre, says sitting tight is tough when so many other businesses are getting the go-ahead from the state to reopen. Movie theaters haven’t received a clear date.

“It would be helpful to have, to be able to know—Are we going to be open in a couple of weeks or a month? Or is it going to be longer than that?—so we can plan accordingly,” Barker said.

During his Monday briefing, Gov. Cuomo said movie theaters pose a high risk. “It is a congregate, it’s one ventilation system, you’re seated there for a long period of time. Airflow, engineering of that system is key,” Cuomo said.

Barker says, “I’m not an HVAC expert, but our HVAC guy says that he’s perfectly ready to put in the kind of filters they’re asking for.”

Barker says he doesn’t believe the risk is any greater at theaters than gyms. He says the National Association of Theater Owners came out with guidelines this week, including wearing masks and having at least two seats in between people.


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