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When will theaters be able to reopen in New York? Cuomo says they aren’t essential enough at this point

One of the few business types that have been left closed without a clear indication of reopening are movie theaters.

After Monday, bowling alleys and fitness centers have been given the green light. However, it’s not clear when theaters will get the ‘O-K’ from officials to open again.


“Everybody finds something essential, and I’m sure there are a whole group of people who say, ‘I cannot live without going to the movies. Life is going to the movies.’ I get that,” Cuomo said Monday.

He took an argument used when discussing the future of casinos a couple weeks ago. Ultimately, Cuomo says it boils down to ‘how essential’ a business is, and how great the risk is for transmission.

“But on the relative scale,” he continued, “a movie theater is less essential, and it poses a high risk. It is congregate. It’s one ventilation system. You’re seated there for a long period of time. Air flow, engineering of that air system is key – even if you are 50 percent capacity where there is one seat between the two of you, two seats between the two of you, this is a risky situation.”


In his estimation, no one knows for sure how important one industry is versus another, but that public health science has to lead the decision making process.

“Who has the bible of essential? Nobody,” said Cuomo. “We make those determinations on a case by case basis. But what’s more essential: a gym or a movie theater? You can’t go to the bible to figure it out. We have a great group of people who we talk to.”

Click here to find out how gyms will be able to reopen, which was announced on Monday.