COVID positivity rates in New York State are going down, so the State has expanded access for museums, zoos, and movie theaters.
The Utica Zoo’s Administrative Manager Kyla Jacobs says they’re slowly recovering from a COVID deficit of around $1 million, so going from 33% to 50% capacity can help to bring in another 250 people.
"Which will allow us to have a lot more people on grounds, bring in a lot more admissions, as well as a lot more people into the gift shop, which is really going to help us bring up more revenue," said Jacobs.
There’s so much room at the Utica Zoo, the increased capacity is affecting them in other ways.
"We have increased our gift shop staff. We’ve also reduced capacity in the gift shop to make it safe because it is a smaller space," she said.
Space doesn’t seem to be much of an issue at Munson William Proctor Arts Institute. The museum staff does have to keep an eye on following all the State guidelines, but the Director of Performing Arts Bob Mortis says they haven’t had financial hardships from the lower volume.
"The revenue is the same as it would have been prior to the pandemic. We do intent to charge for our summer exhibition, but we’re fortunate enough to have sponsors and other supporters and donors. Our members have been wildly supportive during this time," said Mortis.
The capacity increase isn’t going to make a huge difference at museums like Munson Williams where admission is free, but it does make a difference at other venues. The capacity of museums doubled from 25% to 50%, but movie theaters like Valley Cinema’s had a much smaller increase. Owner Christopher Anderson says they’ve gone from 25% to only 33% capacity.
"It’s been really tough to make it this far losing 70%. We were down 100% for 8 months, so the little bit that we’re increased feels more than you would imagine," said Anderson.
There may be help for movie theaters that have taken a substantial financial hit.
"The entertainment industry is doing what they call a Shuttered Venue Grant. They give you 45% of your gross loss," said Anderson. "We’ll be in the first phase, so we’ll know fairly quickly if we’re going to be able to get any assistance from them."