While 48 states have welcomed patrons back into indoor movie theaters, those in New York have remained closed since March in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Though Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to protect the state’s residents, movie theater owners are pleading with the governor to allow them to reopen.
“We recognize your commitment to ensuring that the citizens of New York remain safe and protected from COVID-19. With certain zip codes in New York seeing spikes of the virus, we are, of course, not suggesting that you open the entire state at once. We are, however, requesting that you adopt a plan similar to that in California, where Governor Newsom has allowed openings on a county-by-county basis according to virus data,” wrote the executive committee of the Global Cinema Federation in an open letter to Cuomo. The worldwide organization consists of major cinema operators, including AMC, Cinemark, and Cineplex.
Towards the end of August, the chances of cinemas reopening in New York were looking optimistic. However, the Governor has pulled back on any reopening plans. This in turn has hurt the industry greatly, forcing some theaters to shut their doors for good.
“Without new movies to play in our cinemas, many members of the global exhibition community will be forced to close their doors again,” the letter reads, “Many of these companies will not survive.”
To further drive home their point, the letter refers to a study conducted by the National Association of Theater Owners, which indicated that no new COVID-19 cases have been linked to movie theaters.
“It is genuinely no exaggeration to say that the continued closure of cinemas in your state has put their future in jeopardy, and we ask that exhibitors in New York be given the opportunity to operate again. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you and work together on a plan to reopen New York’s cinemas.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, New York has seen 484,000 cases of COVID-19 and 32,935 deaths, being one of the hardest hit states during the early stages of the outbreak.
Cuomo has not publicly commented on the open letter.