NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Movie theaters across New York City will soon be able to reopen for the first time since they were shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting March 5, theaters in NYC will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity, which consistent with the rules for rest of New York state.
COVID precautions such as assigned seating will be in place and theaters cannot exceed 50 people per screen.
Other rules include requiring masks, social distancing, additional staffing and enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards must be met.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said no testing will be required for customers at movies. He also announced that movie theater employees do not qualify for vaccine eligibility in the 1b group.
Cuomo also announced that billiards and pool halls can reopen March 5. Halls are restricted to 50% capacity outside NYC and 35% capacity in NYC. Masks and social distancing rules will be in effect and each party must be assigned to a table to avoid co-mingling.
"From day one, we have said that our COVID recovery is not a choice between public health and the economy - it has to be both - and in New York we're demonstrating how to do that safely and smartly," Cuomo said. "Thanks to the hard work and commitment of all New Yorkers, our infection rate is now the lowest we've seen in three months, and accordingly we will now be reopening various recreational activities across the state including billiard halls, weddings and movie theaters in New York City. As our infection rate continues to fall, and the vaccination rate continues to climb, we will keep reopening different sectors of our state's economy and focus our efforts on building our state back better than it was before."
In other entertainment news, nearly a year after the NBA shut down, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks will welcome roughly 2,000 fans each to their respective games Tuesday night.
Meanwhile in New Jersey, it was also announced that fans can return to some arenas and stadiums starting next Monday, March 1, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.
Any venue that holds more than 5,000 people will be allowed to open at 10% capacity if it's indoors and 15% if it's outdoors.
It was also announced that houses of worship and religious services in New Jersey can now operate at 50% capacity effective immediately.
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