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Cuomo sets guidelines for billiard halls to reopen; movie theaters in NYC also reopening; weddings & catered events can resume March 15

Mon, Feb 22nd 2021 05:40 pm

All reopenings subject to strict health & safety protocols

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that, as New York's hospitalization and COVID-19 infection rates continue to decline, the state is issuing guidance to begin reopening additional sectors of the economy.

Specifically, billiard halls statewide and movie theaters in New York City are now permitted to reopen. Additionally, guidance is also being released for weddings and catered events, which are scheduled to resume March 15.

"From day one, we have said that our COVID recovery is not a choice between public health and the economy – it has to be both – and in New York we're demonstrating how to do that safely and smartly," Cuomo said. "Thanks to the hard work and commitment of all New Yorkers, our infection rate is now the lowest we've seen in three months, and accordingly we will now be reopening various recreational activities across the state, including billiard halls, weddings, and movie theaters in New York City. As our infection rate continues to fall, and the vaccination rate continues to climb, we will keep reopening different sectors of our state's economy and focus our efforts on building our state back better than it was before."

In addition, movie theaters that have been closed in any remaining parts of the state may also open in accordance with the guidance.

With movie theaters closed in the country’s two largest markets – New York City and Los Angeles – film studios pulled titles from the 2020 and 2021 schedules. Now that New York City is reopening, it’s likely filmgoers will find more new options in coming weeks.

Specific summary guidelines for each industry are as follows:

Opening March 5:

•Movie theaters in New York City

√ Venues are restricted to 25% capacity, with no more than 50 people per screen at a time

√ Masks will be required at all times except when seated and eating or drinking

√ Assigned seating will be required in all theaters

√ Social distancing between parties will be required at all times

√ Additional staffing will be required to control occupancy, traffic and seating to ensure compliance

√ Enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards must be met by theaters

This action brings New York City movie theaters in line with movie theaters throughout the rest of the state.

•Billiard/pool halls

√ Halls are restricted to 50% capacity outside of New York City; 35% capacity in New York City

√ Masks will be required at all times except when seated and eating or drinking

√ Mandatory social distancing must be enforced, or physical barriers between parties of patrons/players must be installed

√ Each party must be assigned to a table to avoid comingling

√ Staff must rigorously clean and disinfect any rented or shared equipment between use

Beginning March 15:

•Weddings and catered events

√ Venues are restricted to 50 capacity, with no more than 150 people per event

√ All patrons must be tested prior to the event

√ Sign-in with contact information required to assist with potential contact tracing

√ Venues must notify local health departments of large events, above the social gathering limit, in advance

√ Masks will be required at all times except when seated and eating or drinking

√ Ceremonial and socially distanced dancing allowed under strict guidelines

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