Rising COVID-19 Positivity Rates Puts Jacob Burns Opening on Hold

We are part of The Trust Project
The Jacob Burns Film Center will be closed for the remainder of 2020 as a result of steadily rising COVID-19 cases.

The Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville will remain closed until at least early January after rising COVID-19 caseloads has put the brakes on any reopening.

“With local COVID-19 infection rates on the rise, we have made the difficult decision not to reopen our theater in the near future,” Margo Amgott, the film center’s interim executive director, said in a statement. “While we want nothing more than to present arthouse films on the big screen to an eager audience, the safety of our community and our staff is our highest priority.”

Amgott said the film center is planning on an early January reopening, which marks the start of its 20th anniversary year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo allowed movie theaters outside of New York City to reopen on Oct. 23 as long as the county in which they were located had a COVID-19 positivity rate of less than 2 percent on a 14-day rolling average. As of Thursday, the seven-day rolling average in Westchester stood at 2.2 percent and reached 2 percent on the 14-day average in the county for the first time since June 7, according to the state’s COVID-19 tracker.

There were another 178 new cases in Westchester on Thursday.

Denise Treco, the director of communications and marketing for the film center, said once Cuomo made the announcement that movie theaters could open, the Jacob Burns staff began working hard to welcome back patrons. The move was a disappointment but it was the best decision to make, she said.

Film center leadership had decided against rushing into operation in late October, preferring to properly prepare for the occasion. Films have been presented virtually to the public online.

“We continue to monitor infection rates daily and will share reopening dates and film titles as soon as it is prudent to bring you, our audience, back to the JBFC in person,” Amgott said.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.