As the coronavirus continues to be a challenge for movie theaters, Cineworld, the parent company of Regal Cinemas, announced on Oct. 8 that it will temporarily suspend operations at all of its 536 theaters in the U.S., including the one in Lynbrook. Though the Lynbrook theater has remained closed since the height of the pandemic, Regal reopened theaters in other states in August, but has now decided to shutter all of them temporarily.
In a news release, Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said that the company did all it could to support and sustain a safe reopening in the U.S., including putting in place health and safety measures and contacting state and local officials to educate them on these initiatives
“This is not a decision we made lightly,” he said. “ . . . We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was.”
New York was among the major U.S. markets where theaters remained closed amid the virus and guidance on a reopening timeline was not available. In response, many studios were reluctant to release new films and Cineworld was unable to provide customers in the U.S. and United Kingdom with films that would encourage them to return to theaters. The closing will impact about 40,000 employees across the U.S.
“Despite our work, positive feedback from our customers and the fact that there has been no evidence to date linking any Covid cases with cinemas, we have not been given a route to reopen in New York, although other indoor activities — like indoor dining, bowling and casinos — were already allowed,” Greidinger said. “The prolonged closures have had a detrimental impact on the release slate for the rest of the year, and, in turn, our ability to supply our customers with the lineup of blockbusters they’ve come to expect from us. As such, it is simply impossible to continue operations in our primary markets.”
Lynbrook’s state-of-the-art 83,022-square-foot Regal Cinemas 13 opened to much fanfare in June 2018 after an arduous two-year construction process in which the new facility replaced an antiquated theater. The $21 million project included 13 auditoriums,
When the theater first opened, Mayor Alan Beach said he was hopeful that it would generate foot traffic for downtown businesses, however it had to shutter six months ago when the pandemic peaked in New York. Reached for comment, Beach said he was unable to get in contact with anyone from Regal and declined to comment further.