New York movie theaters are using marquees to call out Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) for not allowing the state’s cinemas to reopen in the wake of the Chinese coronavirus, despite theaters being open in 48 other states.
“48 states have reopened theaters safely. Why not New York, Governor Cuomo? #ReopenOurCinemasNY,” read one message displayed on the Regal E-Walk in New York City’s Times Square’s marquee.
The historic Aurora Theatre in East Aurora, New York took the message on its marquee further by adding, “playing nothing. Starring nobody.”
“Theaters Open Safely in 48 States, Why Not New York,” read another message on a New York marquee.
New Mexico is the other state that has not allowed its movie theatres to reopen.
Joseph Masher — the president of the New York chapter of the National Association of Theatre owners — said the Regal E-Walk messages are part of a statewide initiative trying to bring attention to the issue, according to a report by Hollywood Reporter.
“We are owed an answer. We’ve answered every question. [Cuomo] said theaters would be next, but that was almost a month ago. And then crickets,” said Masher.
The report added that theatres have spent millions of dollars on new protocols in response to the living in era of the Wuhan virus, yet Cuomo has not allowed cinemas to reopen in New York.
Richard Azzopardi — senior adviser to Cuomo — responded to the backlash, stating, “We understand some people are unhappy, but you know what? Better unhappy than sick or worse.”
“We’re moving heaven and earth trying to stop a second wave and people need to acknowledge that we’re still in a pandemic and start to act like it,” added Azzopardi.
Cuomo is currently embroiled in controversy over his threats to close synagogues if Orthodox Jews int he city don’t abide by social distancing guidelines meant to prevent the spread of coronavirus.