New York Governor Andrew Cuomo may be hanging onto his career by a thread after allegations surfaced of all sorts of cover-ups and mismanagement of the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic. This may have been responsible for killing thousands of elderly residents, but for now he’s still in the big chair in New York state. So his administration is still making the decisions around what can open, and when.
New York City is one of the largest movie theater markets in the world and the failure of that city, along with Los Angeles, to open their theaters was one of the biggest reasons for global movie delays for a whole year now. Finally the NYC theaters will be brought into line with the rest of New York State as of March 5th.
They will reopen at 25% capacity with masks, social distancing and other protocols in place.
These restrictions, however, will limit screens to a maximum of 50 people and include enhanced cleaning between screenings. With such limitations in place it is difficult to see how this won’t impact box-office potential and is already making Warner Bros. day-and-date strategy to look like a smart move for 2021.
Across in Europe’s biggest market, the UK, lockdown easing starts from March 8th. Drive-in cinemas reopen from April 12th while normal cinemas reopen from May 17th. These line up with the UK vaccine strategy that has seen 17.5 million people (1/3rd of the adult population) vaccinated by the first does by 22nd Feb, with a plan in place to have vaccinated everyone over 50 by mid-April.
In a statement yesterday the government named a target date of June 21st to have repealed all legislation and rules relating to any coronavirus restrictions, returning all areas of the country to normal.
Analysts don’t expect theater demand to fully recover until after 2022.