ALBANY (WCBS 880) — Movie theaters in New York State are calling on health officials and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow the industry to reopen.
For the last six months, theaters have been shut to prevent the spread of coronavirus. But, with malls reopening and indoor dining returning, movie theaters, like the Bedford Playhouse, say they should reopen as well.
Michael Hoagland, executive director of Bedford Playhouse, says they have been doing their best to make it work over the last few months, but says moviegoers want to come back.
“The majority of our audience wants to come back into the playhouse to see a movie and that's really what brings our community together,” he said.
His theater is one of more than a dozen small theaters in New York State who wrote to Gov. Cuomo to ask for guidance and a reopening date.
“In my estimation we are better equipped to keep our patrons safe than perhaps some of the other industries,” Hoagland said.
Movie theaters were closed in March along with indoor shopping centers and gyms. In the last few weeks, Gov. Cuomo has permitted both malls and gyms to reopen across the state with limited capacity and other restrictions.
Movie theaters say they can make it work as well.
Some theaters are already working to integrate contactless ticketing and upgraded air filtration systems. Masks would be required at all times inside the building and theaters would stagger show times to prevent large groups of people from congregating.
Cuomo has said indoor theaters aren't essential businesses and come with a higher risk. Hoagland understands that and says there is a way to do it safely.