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Movie Theaters Reopen After Nearly A Year Of COVID Restrictions In New York City

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Theaters can reopen at 25% capacity, with no more than 50 people per screen at a time. Masks and social distancing are required, except when eating or drinking, and seat will be assigned. CBS2's John Dias reports.

Video Transcript

- More progress on the road to reopening. While Westchester County and Long Island movie theaters reopened nearly five months ago, people in New York City will be able to see a movie on the big screen beginning today. CBS2's John Dias has more.

JOHN DIAS: The popcorn is popped. The soda is flowing. Some things feeling the same at many New York City movie theaters again, a pastime countless have missed.

LARS DEWENTER: Just the experience of getting out of the house and doing something else, being around other people.

BEVERLY JOHNSON: The popcorn, the, you know, just the big screen, the Dolby surround sound, you know? The stuff you just don't get at home on, you know, watching your regular TV.

JOHN DIAS: It's been almost a year since statewide COVID restrictions shut down movie theaters. Mostly all have since been allowed to reopen. The city was last, so most New Yorkers had been forced to stream movies at home.

- Watching at home by myself is like different.

JOHN DIAS: But while some companies like Regal Cinemas still haven't set a reopening date and others aren't opening concession stands, AMC Theatres welcome back guests at all 13 of its city theaters, where right before the one in Times Square reopened, a small line formed. And we met Thomas waiting outside for an hour to make sure he scored a ticket to see--

- "Raya and the Last Dragon." It's a Disney film. And the last Disney movie I saw in theaters was, of course, "Onward."

JOHN DIAS: The Upper East Side man says he feels safe being back, especially since AMC partnered with Clorox and Harvard University Public Health faculty to develop its safety protocols.

- It's more safer than-- no offense to people at restaurants, but it's more safer than, you know, dining inside.

JOHN DIAS: But all theaters have to follow these rules-- 25% capacity and no more than 50 people per screen at a time. Masks and social distancing will be required, except when eating and drinking. And there will be assigned seating. And billiard halls can also now officially reopen statewide, but with some restrictions. 50% capacity outside of New York City and 35% capacity inside the city. From Midtown Manhattan, John Dias, CBS2 News.