Movie Theaters reopening

New Jersey movie theaters are set to reopen this week, just in time for Labor Day weekend.

Taking refuge from the hot, late-summer weather in the cool confines of an air-conditioned movie theater is normally one of our favorite pastimes. But unfortunately, there’s nothing normal about this godforsaken year, and while we’re not epidemiologists, there’s enough information out there suggesting that theaters still aren’t safe that we cannot in good conscience endorse the idea of returning to a theater. Yet.

But if you’re willing to put your literal life on the line (and potentially endanger others) in order to see Tenet or The New Mutants on the big screen, here’s the latest info on New Jersey movie theaters reopening.

After a contentious battle a couple of weeks ago between the National Association of Theater Owners and the state of New Jersey, which saw a court upheld the state’s decision for theaters to remain closed, Governor Phil Murphy announced today that movie theaters and indoor performance venues will be allowed to reopen on Friday, September 4, 2020, with attendance per theater capped at either 25% of capacity or a total audience of 150.

According to Variety, Murphy “also said groups buying tickets together at theaters may also sit together but all others must remain at least six feet apart and everyone must wear masks in theaters.” Of course, theaters are also encouraging folks to wear masks inside – except, that is, when they’re eating or drinking. And if people are just going to be whipping their masks off again and again throughout a movie, that sort of undercuts the idea that those auditoriums are quite as safe as some theater chains want you to believe.

Unfortunately for AMC Theatres, it sounds like this announcement comes too late for them to do anything about it. According to IndieWire, AMC “is unlikely to open any” of its theaters in New Jersey by Friday, September 4. AMC announced it would have 70 percent of its locations open across the United States by this Friday, but none of its theaters in New Jersey were listed as being among those slated to immediately open.

Meanwhile, late last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a color-coded plan that points toward the reopening of movie theaters in that state, based on the individual counties and how they’re doing in terms of coronavirus case rate and positivity rates. Unlike New Jersey, which is reopening the doors to all of its movie theaters across the entire state, California has been forced to take a more cautious approach due to its large number of infections at the moment.

Variety’s report says that this past weekend, approximately 62% of domestic locations were open, while California, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, New Mexico, and parts of Arizona were still shut down. Be careful out there, folks.

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