NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nearly five months after Westchester County and Long Island theaters reopened , New York City movie theaters welcomed back audiences Friday. Theaters can reopen at 25% capacity, with no more than 50 people per screen at a time. Masks and social distancing are required, except when eating or drinking, and seat will be assigned. As CBS2’s John Dias reported, the popcorn was popped and the soda was flowing. Some things felt the same at many theaters again for a pastime countless have missed. “Just the experience of getting out of the house and doing something else, being around other people,” Manhattan resident Lars Dewenter told Dias. “The popcorn, the big screen, the Dolby surround sound. The stuff you just don’t get at home watching on your regular TV,” Flatbush resident Beverly Johnson said. It’s been almost a year since statewide COVID restrictions shut down movie theaters. Mostly all have since been lifted, but the city was last. So most New Yorkers have been forced to stream movies at home. “Watching at home by myself is different,” said Ricky Ho, of Rego Park, Queens. While some companies like Regal Cinemas still haven’t set a reopening date, and others aren’t opening concession stands, AMC Theaters welcomed back guests at all of its 13 city theaters. A line formed before the one in Times Square reopened. Dias met an Upper East Side man named Thomas who had been waiting outside for an hour to make sure he scored a ticket to see “Raya and the Last Dragon.” “It’s a Disney film, and the last Disney movie I saw in theaters was of course ‘Onward,’” he said. He said he feels safe being back, especially since AMC partnered with Clorox and Harvard University public health faculty to develop safety protocol, including upgraded air filtration and automatic seat blocking in each auditorium. “It’s more safer than, no offense to any people at restaurants, but it’s more safer than dining inside,” he added. All theaters are limited to 25% capacity, with no more than 50 people per screen at a time. Masks and social distancing are required, except when eating or drinking, and there is assigned seating. Billiard halls also reopened statewide Friday at 35% capacity in New York City and 50% outside the city.
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New York City Movie Theaters Reopen After Nearly A Year Of COVID Restrictions