UPDATED 3/16, 9:50 a.m. ET: New York City and Los Angeles will close all movie theaters following orders from NYC mayor Bill De Blasio and L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti. Additionally, all nightclubs, smaller theaters, bars, and cafes in NYC will be limited to takeout and food delivery only. Garcetti, meanwhile, announced the closures, which will also include gyms and bowling alleys, in L.A. on Sunday night. The closures in NYC will go into effect as of Tuesday, March 17.
The news comes just days after AMC limited screenings to 50 percent capacity, which was later altered to a max capacity of 50 individuals per showing. ”The health of our guests and employee teams comes first for AMC,” said AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron, per the Hollywood Reporter. “Therefore, effective immediately, at all our U.S. theaters that are open, we will limit ticket sales per showtime in each of our theatre auditoriums to a maximum of 50 percent of normal seating capacity and a maximum of 50 people, whichever is less.”
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More than a dozen movie theaters in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have closed down in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, state officials ordered the closures as a precautionary measure against the spread of the deadly disease. The move comes after both states canceled mass gatherings, in addition to closing various schools and businesses. As of Saturday afternoon, the closures effected 10 AMC theaters "and a handful of Regal sites" in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and Bergen County, New Jersey.
"In Montgomery County, I am ordering the closure of all schools, community centers, gyms and entertainment venues," Gov. Wolf announced Thursday, as reported by Fox 29. "This includes all Y's, theaters, sporting events, concerts, and I am strongly recommending the closure of non-essential retail facilities. It includes schools of all types such as pre-K, higher education and private schools."
THR reports that there are now 47 confirmed coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania, 20 of which are in Montgomery County. New Jersey currently has 69 reported cases, with 25 in Bergen County.
The coronavirus outbreak has hit the movie industry hard. Domestic box office revenue is projected to take a dip this weekend as more and more moviegoers self-quarantine. There's also a growing list of film productions have been put on hold, as health experts attempt to combat the disease.
AMC and Regal recently announced they would cap theater attendance by 50 percent beginning Saturday. According to TIME, the policy will be in effect until April.