Despite Governor’s Guidance, No Rush To Open Sag Harbor Cinema

Sag Harbor Cinema.

Although Governor Andrew Cuomo this week announced new guidance that allows most movie theaters outside of New York City to reopen on a limited basis as of Friday, October 23, James Hook, the executive director of the Sag Harbor Cinema, said on Tuesday the cinema was in no rush to throw open its doors to the public.

“We will not open until we can be sure we can protect the safety of the public,” he said, adding that the cinema is formulating a plan that would ensure just that, which he expects to release next week.

Mr. Hook said that as part of its efforts to make the new cinema safe for patrons, it was spending an estimated $50,000 on improved air filtration and monitoring systems.

Even as the coronavirus pandemic has regained steam across the country, the governor announced that movie theaters would be allowed to reopen with audiences limited to 25 percent of the size of the screening room with a maximum attendance capped at 50 people. Patrons would be required to wear masks, except when seated, and maintain social distancing in the theater.

That news apparently came too late for Regal Cinema, which announced earlier this month that it was closing all of its 536 theaters nationwide until further notice. The company owns the theaters in East Hampton and Southampton villages and Hampton Bays, and had displayed signs on its marquee asking why New York was not allowing theaters to reopen while other states did. Regal could not be reached for comment.