While Museums are Reopening, Movie Theaters aren’t so Lucky

September 01, 2020

With restaurants reopening for outdoor dining, New Yorkers have been anticipating the reinstation of their favorite establishments. After much consideration, Governor Cuomo has allowed for museums to open their doors with certain restrictions.

This came as a shock to many, as Governor Cuomo had suggested in July that indoor activities would not be allowed under the agreement of Phase 4 as they had planned. However, in mid-August, this all changed. With the percentage of COVID-19 cases reaching an all time low of less than 1% in New York, the notion seemed more likely.

So what are these guidelines? All indoor establishments must ensure that their visitors keep their masks on throughout their entire stay. According to a Time Out article, museums will also be reducing capacity by at least 25 percent, along with providing temperature checks before entry, having frequent cleanings, requiring social distancing and limiting entry time to reduce crowds. Coat checks will not be available, so do try to travel lightly or you will be turned away, even if you have a ticket. Food will not be served either, so make sure you eat before or after your adventures.

Along with museums, gyms and bowling alleys have also made headway to reopening with similar safety precautions. One would think that movie theaters might start their reopening process as well, but surprisingly, that may not be the case anytime soon.

Like many other businesses, movie theaters continue to struggle to stay afloat after having to shut their doors due to the pandemic. Owners are surprised that Governor Cuomo does not trust that New Yorkers will be as safe inside a movie theater. In a recent NBC News article, it was suggested that although strict guidelines have been put in place, “sanitizing stations, virtual tickets, [and] separated seats”, don’t seem to be enough. Major concerns involve the regulated ventilation that is meant to recirculate the air inside the theater. Having moviegoers sit in a closed off area for a few hours in those conditions seems like playing with fire.

On the other hand, states like New Jersey and California have begun reopening movie theaters. According to Deadline news, NJ Governor Phil Murphy said that “attendance at theaters will be capped at the lesser of either 25% of capacity or an audience of 150 per screen.” With this announcement, it looks like movie entertainment is only one tunnel away for New Yorkers.

Despite the city’s efforts to get back to some sense of familiarity, COVID-19 is still very prevalent. It is important that people don’t forget that, although everything is reopening, it doesn’t mean that safety guidelines shouldn’t be adhered to. Following other state’s reopenings, we have seen the rise of COVID-19 cases making businesses even more precautious to keep everyone safe.  

Keeping this in mind, make sure that while you are getting your much needed recreation, you are also being as precautious as necessary in our new way of life.

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