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NYC movie theaters to reopen, latest nursing home COVID visitation rules: Cuomo

The New York Daily News - 2/22/2021

ALBANY — Movie theaters in New York City will be allowed to reopen early next month, Gov. Cuomo announced Monday.

Starting March 5, multiplexes and theaters across the five boroughs can open their doors to film buffs for the first time in nearly a year at 25% capacity, the governor said as he touted the state’s declining COVID numbers.

“Movie theaters in New York will be brought in line with the rest of the state,” the governor said during an afternoon call with reporters.

No more than 50 people will be allowed per screen, and moviegoers will have to wear masks, socially distance and sit in assigned seats, the same rules that apply to theaters upstate that reopened in the fall.

The governor, facing widespread criticisms over his administration’s handling of nursing homes amid the pandemic, also announced revamped visitation rules for elder care facilities that rely on the positivity rate in individual counties and rapid tests.

If a county has less than a 5% COVID-19 positivity rate, no testing is required, but still encouraged, said Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. If the county’s rate is between 5% and 10%, the state will require visitors to get a rapid test 72 hours in advance. If an area is over 10%, visitors are not allowed except for compassionate care situations.

If a guest has had both COVID vaccine shots within 90 days, a test is not required but encouraged, Zucker said.

Elder care facilities must also be COVID-free for at least 14 days in order to accept visitors.

The new guidelines go into effect on Friday.

Earlier in the day, Cuomo, who said his 89-year-old mother Matilda has been inoculated, traveled to Brooklyn to tour a new mass vaccination site.

The site, opening Wednesday at Medgar Evers College, is being set up by the National Guard and will deliver 3,000 shots a day, seven days a week.

Several similar sites run by the state with an assist from the federal government will open in the coming weeks in order to boost vaccine availability in minority communities around the state amid concerns about hesitancy and mistrust.

“These targeted sites improve access and bring the vaccine right into the Black, brown and poor communities who were hit hardest by the pandemic,” the governor said. “But increased access alone doesn’t win the war.

“We continue to see a lack of public trust in the vaccine among Black and Hispanic New Yorkers. I understand the mistrust, but it’s not true with this vaccine. We will continue to prioritize social equity and fairness until every New Yorker has had a chance to get the vaccine and New York is COVID-free,” Cuomo added.


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