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Movie theaters, gyms in limbo as they wait for NYS reopening guidelines

"I can assure those business owners, this is on the table as we speak and it's being worked on, I confirmed that just yesterday," said Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul.

NEW YORK — Even though New York State has issued guidance for a lot of indoor venues like malls, stores, and restaurants there are still no answers about when gyms or movie theaters can reopen.

"We have no timeframe, we don't even have any kind of guidelines that the state has agreed to, so we have no idea what our status is," said Lynn Kinsella owner of the Aurora Theatre.

While they wait for guidance, the Aurora Theatre has been selling gourmet popcorn and preparing the theater to meet anticipated New York State guidelines.

"We had a great plan, separating seats in the auditorium so that there could be extreme social distancing," Kinsella said.

Dipson Theatres' Amherst has already put safety protocols in place like Plexiglas barriers at the concession stand. 

However, even if theaters get the green light to reopen, Kinsella said there may not be many new movies to show on the big screen.

"Our business is based upon new movie releases and currently studios have been pulling those and holding them off until they feel confident that the movie going experience will generate the revenue they are going to need to justify releasing these films," she said.

Theaters are not alone in wondering when they will be able to reopen, gyms are in the same boat. The JCC of Greater Buffalo opened its outdoor pool and day camp but not the fitness center.

"We are frustrated, very frustrated that we can't open the inside gym or locker rooms and the buildings are very quiet," said Executive Director Rick Zakalik.

"This public health emergency is unprecedented — and there are bound to be some industries that don't fit neatly into the phased re-opening," said Cuomo Administration Spokesperson, Jack Sterne. "We continue to study the data to determine how and when these businesses can safely resume operations, but at a time when dozens of other states are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, New Yorkers should remember that there is still a global pandemic, and we will not risk opening New York up to another wave of this deadly virus."

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul also addressed the matter during a press event on Tuesday.

"We are also looking at how to make it safe," she said. "What are the air conditioning systems like? Are their filters in place that can stop the spread of the virus? There is a lot involved. But I can assure those business owners this is on the table as we speak and it's being worked on, I confirmed that just yesterday."

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