Movie theaters were forced to shut down in March due to the pandemic. Large movie theater chains, such as Regal and AMC, were uncertain if they would be able to continue operating. These companies went months without generating revenue, forcing them to furlough staff, apply for federal assistance, and raise money through debt offerings.
After nearly seven months of closure, Governor Cuomo released reopening guidelines for movie theaters in New York. The Executive Order stated, “[M]ovie theaters remain closed until Friday, October 23, 2020, at which time movie theaters in counties outside of New York City that have a COVID-19 positivity rate below 2% on a 14 day rolling average and do not currently contain any cluster zones may reopen in accordance with this guideline.”
A few guidelines include physical distancing of patrons, limiting interpersonal contact and congregation between patrons and staff members, a qualified central HVAC system, and enforcement of proper protective equipment. While implementing new safety measures in accordance to the COVID-19 regulations, AMC created contact-free options for patrons to use on its app.
On November 18, with a 7-day positivity rate average of 7.0%, Erie County was declared a micro cluster and towns within were marked as yellow and orange zones. Therefore, residents in these zones have to adhere to strict COVID-19 guidelines.
With the positivity rates continuing to increase in Erie County, it is unclear what the future will hold for local businesses. However, for now, movie theaters will remain open. It was declared that the theaters “must adhere to the same restrictions they did when they reopened, [with] limited capacity and other COVID-19 safety measures.”