It’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost an entire year since movie theaters in some parts of the country — including New York State and New York City, one of the U.S.’ biggest movie markets — were last open to the public. Theaters around the country first closed in mid-March at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. By the end of the summer, they reopened in many locations. But a lack of new movies in the fall, sluggish ticket sales, and the continuing threat of Covid-19 re-closed some theaters and kept the multiplexes in New York closed.

Finally, after more than 11 months of inactivity, New York theaters will get to reopen their doors. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that the state’s movie theaters, including those in New York City, can reopen at 25 percent capacity (or no more than 50 people per screen) on March 5. Customers will “have to wear masks, socially distance and sit in assigned seats, he noted.”

With coronarvirus cases dropping in the United States — the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 yesterday was the lowest number since November 7, according to The New York Times — Cuomo’s announcement gives some glimmer of hope that the movie industry could return to something resembling normalcy this year. Even when Covid cases were relatively low, most studios were very hesitant to release anything to in theaters when New York and California locations were closed; without those multiplexes’ potential revenue, it just wasn’t worth the risk. If cases continue to drop, and people continue to get vaccinated, it actually seems possible that 2021’s blockbusters might come out in 2021.

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