ASBURY PARK — The owners of the independent ShowRoom Cinema movie theaters said they are not reopening because of the limits on capacity implemented by Gov. Phil Murphy.

Murphy's executive orders closed all movie theaters in New Jersey on March 16 and did not lift the order until Sept. 4 because of concern that coronavirus spreads easily indoors and where people are sedentary.

Theaters can now open with 25% capacity with a maximum of 150 people. Audiences must wear masks unless they are eating or drinking.

“With 25% capacity and 100% expenses, the numbers just didn’t make any sense,” ShowRoom Cinema co-owner Michael Sodano said in a written statement. “Simply keeping the doors closed cost a lot of money, but opening them at a quarter capacity would only lose more money faster."

Sodano said Murphy only gave three days notice to reopen, "which was not enough time for the independently run business to affect the changes necessary to restart movies on the big screen."

Nancy Sabino said that the coronavirus pandemic had made people "skittish" about indoor entertainment and the studios are moving the release of movies.

"We are not in control of capacity, the product or the audience, and it is becoming clear that the effects of the pandemic will linger well into 2021," Sabino said.

Fans were disappointed at the news in the comments of the news on their Facebook page.

"Mike and Nancy, you were part of the effort to bring a heart an much needed soul to Asbury. Your love of films and bringing interesting content was contagious," Janice Seibel Molloy wrote.

The ShowRoom opened in Asbury Park in 2009 while the Bradley Beach location opened in 2019 after seven months of renovation, Sodano said in his statement.

ShowRoom Cinema in Bradley Beach
ShowRoom Cinema in Bradley Beach (Bud McCormick)

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