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Movie theaters set to open Friday

Aurora Theater Faceook page

State officials announced over the weekend that movie theaters can open again for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  "Actually, we're still awaiting the guidelines. We have not seen them officially yet from New York State," said Lynn Kinsella, owner of the Aurora Theater. "We have a good idea of what they're going to be so we are starting to prep to see if we can get open this Friday."

Like other cinema operators, Kinsella has been advocating to reopen for several months. Her plans to do so safely amidst a pandemic, she says, have been in place since June. Now, theaters outside New York City can reopen.

"Our theater is very large--we have 646 seats. So, by having the (state-mandated) maximum of 50 people there's going to be a great deal of social distancing for everyone who does come to the Aurora," said Kinsella.

She adds the National Theater Owners Association has been touting there have no transmissions of COVID-19 traced to movie theaters. Forty-eight states have allowed their cinemas to open their doors.

"Our staff will be trying to get their (patrons) candy, get their pop, get their popcorn and get it to them in a very safe method. All staff and all patrons will be wearing masks," Kinsella added. Online reservationsare encouraged. Other policies will affect movement throughout the theater, including the use of rest rooms.

So, what's the feature planned for Friday? Kinsella is holding back.

"Tentatively, what we're really thinking of doing is getting into the Halloween spirit with showing something like "Hocus Pocus" for some Halloween fun. I know families who have asked us for many, many years can you show "Hocus Pocus" and we've never been able to, but now Disney is offering that as an opportunity." 




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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.
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