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LI's Cinema Arts Centre, other indie theaters ask Cuomo for reopening guidelines

Huntington's Cinema Arts Centre is one of several

Huntington's Cinema Arts Centre is one of several New York independent theaters asking Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for reopening guidelines. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Huntington's Cinema Arts Centre has joined a group of independent cinemas statewide to send a message to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: They're tired of waiting for showtime.

"New York is one of the last states in the union with no published guidelines for safely reopening cinemas," reads a letter from more than a dozen theater owners and directors that was sent to Cuomo's office Friday. It goes on to say that small theaters are "prepared to assist in the crafting of standards that fit our unique subset of the film exhibition sector."

Cuomo has given the go-ahead for such businesses as bowling alleys and fitness centers to reopen. Meanwhile, cinemas large and small in New York State have remained dark. With the help of the National Association of Theatre Owners, local venues have begun putting pressure on the governor to establish a set of clear safety standards that will allow them to reopen. NATO also launched CinemaSafe, a set of voluntary guidelines on masks, social distancing and air filtration.

Cinemas are no more dangerous than churches, according to the letter, whose signatories represent such storied art-houses as Manhattan's Film Forum, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Pelham's Picture House. "We’re not looking for special treatment for cinemas," the letter reads, "just accommodations equivalent to those that have already been afforded to other sectors of the state’s economy."

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