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New York Movie Theaters Can Raise Capacity to 33% Next Week

Andrew Cuomo announced the new COVID-19 safety guidelines, which raises limits from 25%

New York movie theaters will be able to expand their indoor capacity from 25% to 33% beginning next Monday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the news Monday that movie theaters can make the change with other precautions in place as part of new COVID-19 safety protocols for the state.

New York’s move comes after Los Angeles has been able to expand its capacity for indoor theaters to 50%, showing some signs of life for the box office in the country’s two biggest theatrical markets. While many New York theaters have already managed to open their doors, the state’s approach has been more gradual than Los Angeles, which hopes to reach full capacity by mid-June.

On Monday, New York had 3,783 hospitalizations and 4,339 positive tests with 44 fatalities. As part of the announcement, Cuomo also said that museums and zoos can increase their capacity to 50% beginning next Monday.

A 50% capacity limit has long been considered by theater owners to be the crucial step in restoring business for cinemas that have been closed for a year. While AMC, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas have reopened hundreds of multiplexes nationwide under a 25% capacity limit, thousands of smaller theaters have yet to reopen in part because such a low capacity limit would not allow theaters to sell enough tickets to meet operating costs.

The box office though is beginning to roar back, as over the weekend “Godzilla vs. Kong” crossed $80 million at the domestic box office in its third weekend, with similar hype expected for Warner Bros.’ “Mortal Kombat” opening this weekend.