Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that movie theaters outside of New York City can reopen at 25 percent capacity under state guidance starting October 23. No more than 50 people are allowed in front of each screen in each movie theater at once. Theaters can only open outside of New York City in counties that have COVID-19 positivity rates of less than 2 percent on a 14-day average and do not have any cluster zones. Theaters will be subject to rigorous state guidance and enforcement.

The governor also announced that 159,972 test results were reported to New York State yesterday—a new record high.

“We hit 160,000 tests in one day, which is a record number and the highest we’ve ever done. When you’re doing that level of tests you get down to the block level. And then, when you start to see a cluster, you oversample in that cluster, so you get even more data,” Governor Cuomo said. “Beginning October 23, movie theaters outside of New York City will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity with up to 50 people maximum per screen. This is outside of New York City in areas that have infection rates below 2 percent on a 14-day average and have no cluster zones.”

Theaters cannot reopen in the following counties:  

  • Allegany
  • Broome
  • Cattaraugus
  • Chautauqua
  • Chemung
  • Cortland
  • Greene
  • Orange
  • Rockland
  • Schuyler
  • Steuben
  • Tioga

State guidance on the reopening of theaters includes the following conditions:

  • 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.

In “Red Zone” focus areas included as part of the Governor’s Cluster Action Initiative, the positivity rate for test results reported yesterday is 4.34 percent – down from 4.84 the day before. 

Within the “Red Zone” focus areas, 4,305 test results were reported yesterday, yielding 187 positives or a 4.34 percent positivity rate. In the remainder of the state, not counting these “Red Zone” focus areas, 155,667 test results were reported, yielding 1,597 positives or a 1.02 percent positivity rate. The state’s overall positivity rate is 1.11 percent with focus areas included. The “Red Zone” focus areas are home to 2.8 percent of the state population yet had 10.5 percent of all positive test results reported to the state yesterday, and 11.6 percent of all positive case results reported to the state this current week. There have been 370 cases in Herkimer County with 10 deaths.