BELLMORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Movie theaters in most of New York state can finally reopen Friday, with restrictions.
For independent theaters, especially, this could not come soon enough, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.
On Thursday, there was a ceremonial ribbon cutting — but with old movie film — to celebrate reopening Bellmore Movies and Showplace in Nassau County.
“After I collected my emotions, it was a sigh of relief, but it is a challenge,” Anne Stampfel said.
Stampfel and her husband own the theater, along with Malverne Cinema. Both will finally get to welcome audiences on Friday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, along with movie theaters across most of the state.
Bellmore Movies is Long Island’s oldest movie theater — in operation since 1908.
“Think about it. It survived the Spanish flu, and it has survived COVID. So, this is a historic moment in a historic place,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.
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The Stampfels said they’re doing all they can to save on bills, including putting their own money into the building, which they own.
They’re taking numerous safety precautions, including upgrading their air filtration system. They also have a sanitizing station before you walk into their one theater. Every other row is blocked off and seating is only on the aisles to ensure social distancing.
The owner said once everyone is seated, workers will take a picture of the theater so they know exactly where to focus on cleaning when the show is over, Grymes reported.
In addition, movie times are staggered so there’s extra time to disinfect.
The state also capped capacity at 50 people, and everyone must wear a mask.
“I sometimes feel like they’re a little harder on movie theaters and they kept us at bay for so long. But will 25% capacity monetarily work for me? It’s a start. It’s cash flow,” Stampfel said.
The first movie to be shown will be “On the Rocks,” starring Bill Murray.
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Stampfel said they’re constantly working to get new releases at a time when Hollywood isn’t putting much out.
Either way, Stampfel said, “I want that back. Dinner and a movie.”
They especially want couples and first daters to know they’re back in business.
The owners also hope to host dance recitals and comedy shows as soon as they’re allowed.
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