It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for! BLAKE & WANG P.A Entertainment Attorney Los Angeles are happy to announce that, as of last Monday’s remarks from Governor Cuomo, New York City movie theaters will be synchronized with the rest of the state from March 5th. This means they will be able to operate at 25% capacity, or with 50 people per screen, whichever is lower. Masks, social distancing, and other key COVID protocols will, of course, remain on the cards, although testing will not be mandatory.

Exciting and long-awaited news

Only last week we had cause to speculate if we were ever going to see a shift in the stubborn refusal to allow New York City theaters the same reopening that many comparable businesses have had slated, so this news is immensely positively received.

It’s been almost a full year since this hub of the nation’s movie market was sent dark, and the loss of revenue has proved crippling to global theatrical release schedules as well as the local industry. With COVID-19 infection rates now the lowest since November 2020, the speculation has been rife as to why theaters, alone of all larger-scale entertainment industries, have kept being left off the cards.

Immediate reopening

AMC Entertainment, the USA's biggest theatrical chain, has made clear it will reopen all of its NYC locations as of March 5th. They’ve had a horrifically public journey trying to scrape together the cash to remain afloat, so that’s hardly a surprise. They were able to reopen some of the chains from August 2020 and report that over 10 million moviegoers have returned to their doors without a single COVID-19 transmission incident. No doubt the 15% surge in their shares we saw in the news will help boost their faltering bottom line, too. Cinemark and Imax have seen smaller, but significant boosts as well.

It’s not just about the stock price, however. With the NYC hub open, we will hopefully see considerably more confidence from studios regarding release dates, which will have a knock-on effect throughout the recovering movie industry.

Capacity is an issue

Of course, the news is not all rosy. 25% capacity is going to be rough on a lot of chains. In luxury theaters, which already exchange lower capacity in turn for a higher cost, there’s a petition afoot to get capacity reassessed to 50%, given the larger seating already negatively impacts them.

Naturally, spokespeople from across the industry are keen to highlight the stringent health protocols and lack of transmission we’ve seen in areas where cinemas are already reopened. This includes AMC’s ‘Safe & Clean’ policy, developed in conjunction with Harvard University health experts and Clorox. It includes automatic seat blocking, upgraded air filtrations, and other key measures. Combined with New York's declining infection rate, it’s definitely time to test the waters.

The exhibition has been at odds with Gov Cuomo- with due cause, to be honest- for many months now, since we saw NYC stay shuttered despite reopenings through the rest of the state. Now it’s the time to prove what many industry experts have been saying- it’s way past time to get this vital market back up and kicking, and it can be done easily and safely too. BLAKE & WANG P.A Entertainment Lawyer Los Angeles
wishes the industry all the luck.

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As an author, I have written so many articles about entertainment law and entertainment.

When I am not writing then I like to read entertainment news, watch films and dramas.

Everyday many changes took place in the entertainment world.