AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) will turn the lights back on at a host of its cinemas located in New York state. The largest movie theater operator in the world said the reopenings would occur this Friday, Oct. 23, in line with a state government order.
All told, 12 AMC theaters will throw open their doors on that day. The company did not specify which cinemas will turn their lights back on, but promised to release a full list later in the week.
Last Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that cinemas in certain areas outside New York City could resume operations starting Friday. There are several caveats. A theater can only reopen if it's in a county with a 14-day average COVID-19 positivity rate below 2%. That county must also be free of cluster zones.
Cinemas that are allowed to open can do so only at 25% maximum capacity, with no more than 50 customers allowed for each screening. Assigned seating will be required at all times, as will the wearing of masks. Social distancing measures must be taken, and theater operators are obligated to raise their filtration, ventilation, and purification standards.
AMC is laboring to get cinemas in the most lucrative market in the state reopened. "We continue to work closely with state and local authorities about the reopening of New York City, which we now hope with increasing confidence is not far away," said CEO Adam Aron.
AMC said that assuming some of its New York theaters reopen as planned on Friday, it will be operational in 44 of the 45 states in which it has a presence.