Covid-19: after a year of closure, cinemas in New York and Canada may reopen

The New York theaters will be able to welcome the public from March 5 with a maximum capacity of 25% of the usual capacity and without food or drink.

Theaters will be able to reopen in New York on March 5, almost a year to the day after their administrative closure due to a pandemic, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday. The reopening will be done with a maximum gauge of 25% of the usual capacity and a limit of 50 spectators per room, said the governor. In Canada, this limit will reach 250 people, on February 26, at the reopening of theaters announced by François Legault, the country’s Prime Minister, last week.

It’s a breath of fresh air for the film industry in both countries. The United States had until then been deprived of its two largest markets, Los Angeles and New York. Bill de Blasio, the mayor of the latter, had closed the rooms by decree on March 17, 2020. The decision comes as the number of positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in New York returns to the levels of early December, i.e. start of the second peak of the pandemic.

New York City is now aligned with the rest of the state, where theaters were allowed to reopen in mid-October. However, some cinemas in the rest of the state have decided to remain closed, believing that a reopening would not be economically viable. The low gauge, the restrictions on the sale of food and drink represent a serious obstacle to a new start. Same story in Canada, where a curfew is added at 8 p.m., maintained in the red zones. “It should [le] move the curfew at 9:30 p.m.», Analyzes Vincent Guzzo, CEO of Guzzo cinemas, in the program Economy zone on the Canadian channel Ici RDI. “We won’t reopen if we can’t sell food», He declared in a message sent to Radio-Canada. In New York, the absence of films likely to attract spectators, also dissuades several exhibitors to launch out.

Cinemas without blockbusters?

The release schedule has been shaken up by Hollywood studios which have postponed the arrival of most big budget movies. Disney and Warner maintained a few titles, but opted for a simultaneous release, as with Raya and the last dragon , which will arrive in theaters and on the Disney + platform in early March.

For the American association of cinema owners (NATO), “the reopening (in New York) will give confidence to film distributors to set release dates and keep them“. “It is also an important step in the recovery of an entire industry.In a statement sent to AFP, Adam Aron, CEO of the AMC channel, the largest in the United States, announced that the group’s 13 theaters in New York would reopen on March 5.

Asked by AFP, Andrew Elgart, independent owner of three cinemas in New York, said he would not reopen “probably notOn March 5, although he is studying the possibility of doing so later. It is not “not sure»That a restart is profitable under these conditions. There are currently no plans to reopen in Los Angeles. In San Francisco, the country’s third-largest market, authorities authorized the reopening in October, but many operators have chosen to remain closed, deeming the conditions imposed too economically penalizing.

SEE ALSO – Covid-19: must we quickly liberate culture?


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