ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — While movie theaters were hoping to reopen in New York State’s Phase 4 plan, they have yet to be given the go-ahead from the governor’s office.
“It’s just really upsetting,” explained Joseph Masher, President of the National Association of Theater Owners of New York State. “We have over 10,000 people in New York State out of work from movie theaters, and we have theaters that are probably not going to reopen. I know at least a dozen that are permanently closed in the state.”
Masher said those movie theaters are primarily located downstate, but added that this could happen to several others, if theaters are not allowed to operate soon.
Already, Regal Cinemas has announced a temporary closure of 500 of their locations because of the pandemic.
The Motion Picture Association sent a letter to Governor Cuomo, urging him to let movie theaters reopen in places that are not COVID-19 hotspots.
“What we are asking is that we would like some answers. We would like to know when we can reopen. We can do so safely. We got all the protocols in place, we’ve showed the governor’s office how we operate.”
He said they were communitcating with movie theaters in the beginning of the pandemic, but the governor’s office has not been in contact with them recently.
While other businesses such as restaurants and gyms have reopen, those in the movie theater industry are wondering why they have been left out.
“All of those things are basically risker then going to a movie. If you go to a movie, you have a mask on, you’re facing the same direction. You’re not talking. In a restaurant you’re sitting with a party or a dinner date with no mask. It’s far risker than just going to a movie.”
According to Masher, 48 other states have allowed movie theaters to reopen.
“What’s basically been happening is because New York and LA are not open yet, they are the number 1 & number 2 markets for movies. The studios have been pulling movies off of the calendar and either moving them to next year in 2021 or 2022 or worse yet, putting it on to streaming. “
He said if theaters are forced to permanently shut their doors, it will have negative economic impacts on communities across the state.
“If the theaters close, the town loses its heart and you will see restaurants closing. You will see other businesses closing. Theaters are a patron driver. They bring people down town, they make cities walkable. They really are an entertainment center of a downtown area and it would be a shame to see them go.”
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