SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Movie theaters in Central New York are allowed to begin reopening this Friday, October 23. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued several statewide mandates, which theaters must follow in order to reopen. Manlius Art Cinema, located in Manlius, New York, is one of several local theaters that will open its doors on Friday.
Manlius Art Cinema closed its doors on March 15, the day before Gov. Cuomo shut down all movie theaters in the state due to COVID-19. Nat Tobin, owner of Manlius Art Cinema, said they did offer some virtual screenings and events, but this was not enough to keep business flowing.
“It’s been very hectic,” Tobin said. “We don’t have anyone coming in, yet there are monthly expenses going out, so we’ve been trying to preserve whatever we have in the bank, so that we could reopen.”
In order to reopen on Friday, movie theaters must follow several procedures. Gov. Cuomo issued a 50-person maximum per screening.
“I’m not afraid of the 50-person maximum,” Tobin said. “I’d love to have 50 people in each screening, that would be wonderful. It’s not going to happen, there are going to be to many people that are afraid to come back.”
In order to cater to those who are uncomfortable going to the theater in person, Tobin will continue to offer virtual screenings. In the theater, social distancing will be strictly enforced and seats will be cleaned more frequently.
“We’ve roped off seats, rows, complete rows, so people can virtually not sit within six-feet of each other,” Tobin said.
Tobin added that the theater will be sanitized and seats will be sprayed before and after every show.
Manlius Art Cinema will decrease its showtimes to only one matinee on the weekend, and they will not have screenings on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Tobin and his wife will be the only people working as they adjust to these new protocols.