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New York theaters can open again...sorta

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  • New York theaters can open again...sorta

    Andrew Cuomo was just on TV giving updates about New York and the virus, and he said "Movie theaters can reopen with a 50% capacity or 25 people per screen, but not in New York City, only in non-red zones." And then he said "25 people per screen, I don't even know what that means." (I think it was in response to a question but I'm not sure.) Which just seems to prove that he has given zero thought to our industry and/or doesn't understand what a multiplex is. But at least some places can open, so maybe the tide is turning?

    Here's the text of an article from a NYC site:

    NEW YORK (WSTM) — Movie theaters in parts of New York will be allowed to open starting October 23, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.

    The governor says that movie theaters outside of New York City will be allowed to open at 25 percent capacity with up to 50 people per screen if they meet new state regulations.

    Only counties that have an infection rate below 2 percent based on a 14-day average will be able to open theaters. Those areas must also not have any cluster zones.

    The state says masks, assigned seating, social distancing, and additional staffing to control occupancy and enforce compliance will all be required.

    Theaters will also be required to meet enhanced air filtration, ventilation, and purification standards, according to the state.
    Jeez it's almost like they had a meeting saying "OK, let's let them open, but first let;s figure out ways to suck most of the profit it out of it while we're at it."

    It's like the state's being run by Hank Kimball from Green Acres. "You can open your theaters! Well, not exactly open... there will be a few rules. Well, not a few rules, a lot of rules. But we can all enjoy movies again! Well, not all of us, but some of us. Well, not some, maybe a few. What are we opening again?"
    Last edited by Mike Blakesley; 10-17-2020, 12:54 PM.

  • #2
    I'd be very surprised if the revenue from 25 people per screen would even cover the costs of opening up and staffing the building, meaning that the owner would possibly be making a bigger loss than they would by keeping the theater mothballed.

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    • #3
      This is especially true since many exhibitors have made "deals" with their landlord on rent that seem to end if the theatre opens.

      New York should have gone with the better model of the lesser of 50% capacity or 100 people in any space. At that point, the business can survive AND they too will be getting data on just how safe (or unsafe) cinemas are, as an indoor business. There is an abundance of evidence that 25 persons/cinema has had zero tracings to COVID spreading. And note, normally that quantity includes the cinema staff. So we have some singles in PA that are limited to 23 patrons so they can have 2 people on staff (single screen).

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      • #4
        If they choose not to open (as opposed to being ordered to stay closed) then some of those deals might expire anyway.

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        • #5
          This is true, unfortunately, because having a failing business model is unfair as well. In fact, all of this is unfair and should have been handled better. If the government is going to compel or even actively discourage a business, it should be responsible for also covering the costs (all of the way down the line) for their damage. This is particularly true when much of what seems to be applied to cinemas is mere speculation.

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          • #6
            None of this solves the chicken-or-egg problem of no new movie releases to show. If the distributors cannot make money releasing their product, they will wait until they can. And even NYC doesn't need one hundred repertory screens.

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