Enough! Let America mask up and go to the movies again
It’s hot as Mars outside, and everybody wants to be sitting in a freezing movie theater watching a two-hour action flick and forgetting how much everything sucks.
Says the government: Too bad!
Despite our impressive progress on containing the coronavirus in New York, our sweaty citizens still can’t just put on a mask and sit silently, removed from other people in a gigantic room for a little while. Movie theaters, we are told, are the “Indiana Jones” snake pit of the city.
This is ridiculous.
New Yorkers have made huge sacrifices to reduce the number of new virus cases, and, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo likes to say, “Now we have to keep them there.” But maintaining low numbers cannot mean indefinite, willful paralysis. We must look at each activity individually, and use common sense.
Take the cinema. Have you ever yelled full-voice at the movies? Sang a ballad during “The Avengers”? Had a 15-minute face-to-face talk with the ticket-taker? Lingered in the small bathroom? Touched a bunch of stuff? How often, outside of an opening day, have you found that your movie theater is more than ⅓ full anyway? Not often, I’d wager.
Now add mandatory masks, and the risk becomes low. Chances are you expel more droplets all day in your office building, which was allowed to reopen in Phase 2, than you do at a two-hour movie.
Cuomo’s old Phase 4 included “low-risk indoor arts and entertainment,” but was recently revised to be “the zoo.” Notice how our wet-rag governor tends to come down harshest on fun, but not all fun is raves and mud-wrestling. Other countries get this.
France, which is just three times larger than New York state, still sees hundreds of virus cases per day. Big-city Paris’ cinemas are open. The same is true of Great Britain. There were 580 confirmed cases there yesterday, and Londoners can go to the movies at reduced capacity.
The purpose of New York’s phases, we were originally told, was to evaluate after 14 days whether or not cases jumped when we gave another type of business a go. If they did, then we’d backpedal and learn a lesson. So far, we’ve been able to shop at Target, get an indoor haircut, eat a long lunch at an outdoor restaurant and, most tellingly, take the subway — and our numbers have gone down, down, down.
Our state’s reluctance to give cinemas the green light is also depriving other states’ citizens of income. Because we’re one of the biggest markets in the country, no studio will open their film unless it can be screened in New York.
Nobody, that is, except for Christopher Nolan. “The Dark Knight” director’s “Tenet,” the Hollywood Reporter said Monday, will likely hit China, South Korea and everywhere else before it makes it to the US at some unspecified date. Who can blame them?
New Yorkers should not be the last audience to see a huge, new American film from a vital director.
Let us slap on a mask and go to the movie theater.
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