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Governor Cuomo says movie theaters too "high risk" to reopen

He also described cinemas as less essential than other businesses.

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason

You’ll soon be able to watch a movie on a treadmill, but it may still be a while until you can catch one in a theater. 

Hot on the heels of his announcement today that gyms in New York can officially reopen, Governor Cuomo clarified that the reopening of the city’s movie theaters won’t be happening anytime soon. His explanation for the difference? Movie theaters are still “high risk” and “less essential” than New York’s fitness centers.

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“It’s the level of risk. If you look at our metrics, we started [reopening] with the most essential business that posed the least risk. And then it was the gradation to the least essential businesses that posed the most risk,” he said at his daily briefing.

The differing policies are especially interesting because movie theaters, like museums and other places for large gatherings, were once a part of Phase 4 of the city’s reopening plan. That phase was downsized considerably after other parts of the country began to experience a surge in cases in July. Since then, however, museums have been given the go-ahead to reopen on August 24 at 25 percent capacity and gyms will now be able to reopen a week from today at 33 percent capacity.

“Who has the bible of essentials? Nobody. You can’t go to the bible to figure it out [but] we are saying, ‘Yes, gyms for more New Yorkers are more essential than movie theaters,’” Cuomo said.

As the old saying goes, when god opens a gym, he closes a movie theater.

The news, though surely dispiriting to the city’s cinephiles, doesn’t change the fact that New Yorkers still have a wide range of movie-going options—from outdoor screenings and drive-in cinemas to virtual film festival offerings. Still, the fact that upcoming wide releases like Christopher Nolan's new film Tenet (still currently scheduled for September 3) may be available in other cities but not NYC is now a very real possibility.

Last week, AMC announced that they'd be opening 100 of their US locations on August 20.

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