North Park Theatre plans to reopen to the public in late April

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The state is lifting its curfew on businesses such as theatres, gyms and casinos, starting Monday.

The North Park Theatre is open for private screenings, but the theatre announced that it will open to the public later this month.

Program Director Ray Barker says this will be the theatre’s soft opening, which will be on April 23, he says the theatre will see how the public responds to this place being open again.

If enough people make it to the movies, they’ll remain open to the public.

Barker says removing the 11 p.m. curfew on theaters will help especially on those big movie premier weekends.

“We’re excited because there’s just some films that are better enjoyed at 9:30 p.m.,” he said. “We have fans of horror, science fiction, and cult movies that usually works much better at 9:30 p.m.”

He does say it’s important that they follow the guidelines no matter what they are.

“We want to be very cautious and whatever the restrictions are we’re probably going to be even more severe than what the government restrictions are because we want to keep people safe because we think if we behave responsibly, then we can finally get out of this pandemic and get back to life as close to normal as it’s gonna get,” Barker said.

The venue could normally hold 600 moviegoers, but the capacity for shows will be limited to 50 people.

If they don’t sell enough tickets after the reopening, they’ll go back to offering just private screenings.

Indoor entertainment venues were given the green light to open at 33 percent capacity. A change that the executive of Shakespeare in the part says will help the theatre community.

“I mean obviously we’re moving forward with people being able to be vaccinated and than opening up, it’s great news,” she said “Now when everyone will be able to open their doors and have audience members come in, and shows being produced, that’s a little bit of a different question.”

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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