The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

View this profile on Instagram

The Torch (@sju_torch) • Instagram photos and videos

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Jojo Siwa
Jojo Siwa’s Bad Karma
Catherine Pascal, Staff Writer • May 3, 2024
Torch Photo / Anya Geiling
Live Show Spotlight: Roger Eno
Anya Geiling, Contributing Writer • April 30, 2024
Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson
Speed Dating Your Prospective Professors
Isabella Acierno, Outreach Manager • April 29, 2024

A message to Governor Cuomo from a New York movie theater worker: Stop leaving theaters in the dark

PHOTO+COURTESY%2FFLICKR
PHOTO COURTESY/FLICKR

Last March, movie theaters, along with other nonessential businesses across the state of New York were ordered to shut down  in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Despite a slow initial response, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo  managed to get the spread of the virus under control within 2-3 months after ordering nonessential businesses to shut down. Even after allowing most businesses and schools in New York to reopen, the rate of infection manages to hover below 1% each  day and, so far, there hasn’t been a second spike in  infections like the ones that occurred in most other states after they reopened their economies early on. 

Despite all this, Cuomo has refused to give the green light for movie theaters to reopen, and has barely mentioned them in his COVID-19 press briefings and teleconferences. To a movie theater worker like myself who has been furlonged for the past six months, it is so frustrating to see Governor Cuomo continue to keep theaters in the dark, especially since he has recently allowed gyms, bowling alleys and casinos to reopen.

When the mom-and-pop movie theater I worked at first closed in March, I was upset to have been furloughed from my job, but at the same time I accepted that closing nonessential businesses like movie theaters was crucial to preventing the spread of COVID-19. As much as I missed working at my job, I needed to be rational and think about the possible repercussions of reopening nonessential businesses too soon. But as cases declined rapidly in New York before and even after the state began reopening two months later, I became extremely confident with the thought that I would be going back to work very soon. 

Fast forward three months and Governor Cuomo has just recently announced that gyms and bowling alleys can reopen, but not movie theaters. Around this time, I got an email from the owners of the movie theater I worked at inviting employees like myself to a press conference they were hosting to give a public plea to Governor Cuomo to let their theater reopen. At the press conference, I became aware of the financial struggles many theater owners, including the owners of my theater, were facing as a result of keeping their theaters closed. Things are so bad for the owners at my theater that they were forced to apply for unemployment, and they still have to deal with paying their monthly rent and taxes. 

The press conference was also where I first learned about CinemaSafe, which is a list of guidelines released by NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) for all theaters to follow when they reopen. These guidelines include policies to enforce mask wearing and to install air filtration to prevent the airborne spread of the virus. After reading the guidelines and listening to the statements local officials and the President of NATO New York, Joe Masher, gave at the press conference, I am now more than convinced that NATO and theater owners across the state are committed to ensuring a safe environment to protect the health and safety of its employees and patrons.

Governor Cuomo – thank you so much for your extraordinary leadership throughout these tough times. You managed to not only flatten the curve in New York but also keep that curb flat, despite the reopening of most businesses across the state. As a movie theater worker, I totally understand your concerns about letting these theaters reopen. But at the same time, theater owners across the state, especially those of mom-and-pop theaters like the one I work at, are struggling financially and some of them will likely be forced to close permanently in the near future if you continue to leave them in the dark. These owners are committed to protecting New York’s success against the virus by providing a safe environment for patrons and employees. I think they will really impress you if you give them the chance to reopen — stop leaving them in the dark.

 

View Comments (5)
Donate to The Torch
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. John's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Torch
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (5)

We love comments and feedback, but we ask that you please be respectful in your responses.
All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • A

    amySep 30, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    so correct, please let the theaters open please..my unemployment is about to be gone i need to go back to work soon..how would u lke it if u were in this postion..stop already n open the dang theaters soon people want there lives back and some kind of normacy back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  • S

    SharonSep 29, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    WE must open movie theaters in NYS ASAP. More will close if we don’t. How can we reach the Governor. There must be some way.

    Reply
  • K

    Kimberly AllanSep 25, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    100% correct!!! Movie theaters should have opened a month ago! The governor is not being proactive when it comes to this business and many are startling to question whether or not there’s another reason he is doing this… There is no evidence that shows a gym is safer then a movie theater to reopen… We understand you want to keep NY Safe but you are also damaging our lives by continuing to keep us closed. Open the theaters… LETS US WORK!!! We have done everything necessary to provide a safe environment for our customers… Yet gym patrons can work out hours on end, sweating and breathing heavIly all while occasionally lifting their mask to breath easier when it gets spiked with sweat? Cmon Cuomo do what’s right and let us reopen!!!!! Our businesses are struggling to stay intact and our employees are desperate!!!

    Reply
  • R

    RSSep 22, 2020 at 10:22 am

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Given so many states have reopen, it begs the question, if new cases remain down, hospitalisation and mortality near negligible numbers, there just isn’t any rationale as to why NY should keep movie theaters closed. Many restaurant business filed a law suit against the governor; I hope NATO doesn’t do the same if they continue to be denied unreasonably.

    Open the theaters, limit capacity and follow the safe guidelines NATO has successfully shared and seen other states implement.

    Reply
  • A

    AmySep 21, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    Open the theaters, they are safe to open I work at a movie theater and waited months to go back n nothing please open the theaters in new York please n ty

    Reply