Movie theaters in New York City can reopen on March 5 at 25 percent capacity with no more than 50 people per screen, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.
“Assigned seating, social distancing, and other health precautions will be in place,” Cuomo wrote in a tweet.
The lockdowns imposed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have hurt theater operators.
Many including cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings are struggling to stay afloat even as big studios Walt Disney and Warner Bros decided to release movies directly on online streaming platforms.
After Cuomo’s announcement, AMC said it will reopen all its 13 theaters in New York City from March 5. Theater chain Cinemark did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“New York City is a major market for moviegoing in the U.S., reopening there gives confidence to film distributors in setting and holding their theatrical release dates,” the National Association of Theatre Owners said in a statement.
Movie theaters outside of New York City were allowed to reopen on Oct. 23 after a months-long hiatus spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We look forward to expanding the capacity from 25 to 50 percent in the very near future so that theatres can operate profitably,” the association said.
After closing nearly 15 percent higher, shares of AMC Entertainment were up 8.5 percent in extended trading, while Cinemark was up 2.2 percent after ending the day up 6.3 percent.