Governor Cuomo Archives - Alliance to Save the American Dream

Governor Cuomo Sets Unrealistic Goal for Independent Theater Owners

March 2, 2021 - Victor Rogers

On March 5, movie theaters will be permitted to open at 25% with no more than 50 people per screen, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a tweet following a press conference. 

Despite the news, independent-run entities are discouraged by the short notice from their governor.  

“That’s just a total loss of revenue by even opening,” independent theater owner, Harvey Elgart, told the Post.

These operators claim that the reopening plan favors major theater chains that can afford the cost, such as AMC, but hurts small business owners. 

Elgart, who owns three theaters in New York City, says that will be an impossible reality for smaller theaters.

“The overhead to run a theater is just tremendous,” he explained. “The utility bills, the electric, the heat. It’s a major cash-flow problem to open with so few people to come. I can actually do better by staying closed than open.”

Meanwhile, fellow indie theater owner, Nick Nicolaou, also told the Post his theaters won’t be able to meet the March 5 date. 

“Operating at 25 percent is not going to cover expenses, but it’s going to allow us to reopen and reopen safely,” he said. “To train our staff and follow the guidelines, that takes time.”

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