New Jersey Theaters May Reopen Friday, Governor Says – Deadline


New Jersey theaters may open this Friday, Sept. 4, Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday, the latest optimistic news for the exhibitions industry beaten after California set parameters for the reopening on Friday that would allow the opening of sites in San Francisco and other counties.Governor Murphy has said theater attendance will be capped at the lesser of 25% of capacity or an audience of 150 per screen.

The executive’s reopening order – unveiled during a regular COVID-19 briefing – includes all indoor performance venues, as well as indoor dining capped at 25% capacity with social distancing.

The order means New Yorkers can easily cross state borders to see a movie adjacent to New Jersey and may have to do so as Governor Andrew Cuomo still has no word on the timeline for the reopening of the New York theaters. Exhibitors are increasingly outraged by the ongoing and financially crippling shutdown since March, while other venues like bowling alleys, gymnasiums and shopping malls have been allowed to reopen statewide.

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In his own Monday briefing, Governor Cuomo acknowledged that restaurant goers in New York City – the only area of ​​the state that still prohibits indoor dining – can now search for establishments in the NJ. “I understand that means people can go through the tunnel or cross the George Washington Bridge and go to a restaurant in New Jersey where they can’t do that in New York,” Cuomo said.

The NJ news comes two weeks after theater owners lost a legal attempt to force the governor to open theaters. On August 18, a federal judge upheld Governor Murphy’s shutdown of state theaters, dismissing an injunction motion from the National Association of Theater Owners and Five Movie Theaters that would have allowed them to open their doors. Theaters had tried to argue for discrimination since New Jersey allowed churches to open but cinemas not.

The capacity limit for indoor gatherings and celebrations like weddings, funerals, and political activities is also capped at lesser or 25% of capacity or 150 people, an increase from a cap of 100.

Murphy said groups that buy tickets together in theaters can sit together, but everyone else should stay at least six feet apart and everyone should wear masks in them. theaters “unless you pull them aside to drop a handful of popcorn.” ”

By easing restrictions, he warned New Jersey residents not to let their guard down. “It’s a virus of opportunity. There is no room for error. Let’s enjoy eating inside or going to the movies with our friends again… in a safe and responsible manner. “


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