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The Little Theatre will reopen April 16

Scott Pukos/The Little Theatre

The Little Theatre, closed for the last year due to the pandemic, will reopen April 16. The announcement came Monday from operators of the independent theater (which is owned by WXXI).

Publicity Coordinator Scott Pukos said that, for now, Theaters 2 through 5 will be open. The larger Theater 1 will be used only for private screenings. The Little will be open three days a week, Friday through Sunday.

Movie theaters in New York state were allowed to reopen with restrictions last October, but Pukos says the COVID infection rate was too high last fall to make that feasible. With the positivity rate for the virus coming down, he said it makes sense to reopen, even if it’s on a limited basis.

“It’s a start, obviously we’re hoping that as the year progresses that more people will get vaccinated and eventually the guidelines will change but right now we can only focus on what the situation is now at the moment,” Pukos said.

With those state guidelines, the theaters at The Little that are reopening will be limited to 25% capacity and no more than 50 people. The Little has also upgraded its air filtration systems to comply with state regulations and other steps are being taken to keep patrons distanced and safe.

Pukos said that when he posted something on social media on Sunday about the The Little marking one year since it has shown movies to the general public, there were a number of comments from people who couldn’t wait for it to reopen.

“The messages we got were really encouraging,” Pukos said. “A lot of people have been (saying), ‘I’m ready to get back,‘ and we’ve had people who’ve messaged us, ‘I’m fully vaccinated, I would love to go see a movie.’ We’ve been doing private rentals since December, a lot of that crowd has really enjoyed coming into the theater and getting that movie theater experience.”

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.