New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference on Saturday that movie theaters in the state — but not in New York City — can reopen at 25% capacity starting October 23. Theaters have been closed since mid-March, when the state went into lockdown.
The limited reopening will only apply to counties that have an infection rate below 2% on a 14-day average and have no COVID-19 hot spots. Those stipulations rule out several counties including, Rockland, Orange and Broome.
New Yorkers going to the movies for the first time in nearly seven months will be required to wear masks and social distance from other patrons. Only 50 people will be allowed per screen.
Cuomo held his press conference as the U.S. faces a fall coronavirus surge that is seeing states nationwide report record numbers of new COVID-19 cases.
“The fall, you’re going to see an increased viral transmission rate. Fact,” the governor said, echoing warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert. Fauci told “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell this week that the United States needs to redouble its efforts to contain the coronavirus as we enter the fall and winter months.
“What we really have to do is double down” on preventive measures like social distancing and wearing masks, Fauci said.
Cuomo said Saturday that New York is implementing a “micro-cluster strategy” to combat the seasonal surge. He said a wealth of data from about 12 million total tests will now allow it to analyze clusters “block by block.”
“If there’s a cluster it means there wasn’t compliance,” he said Saturday. “The only answer to a lack of compliance is enforcement.”
Earlier this month, Cuomo reimposed virus restrictions on schools, businesses and houses of worship in and around areas seeing a spike in cases.
Movie theaters in New York outside NYC can reopen October 23, with limits The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ CBS News.