Suffolk Theater announces plan to resume operations starting Aug. 27

The Suffolk Theater announced Tuesday afternoon that it plans to resume operations on Aug. 27.

The historic downtown Riverhead theater has been closed since the pandemic first hit early in 2020.

“We’d like to thank you for all of your patience and support during this trying time,” a message from the theater posted on its website said.

The theater is in the process of rescheduling shows and bringing back staff to resume operations, the message said.

Any shows that had been scheduled prior to Aug. 27 will be rescheduled. Anyone who had tickets to an event prior to that date should hold onto the tickets and continue to check the theater’s website and social media channels for additional information.

“We appreciate your continued patience during this time,” the theater said in its message.

Restrictions related to the pandemic have been gradually lifted and in early May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Broadway would fully reopen in September. And in April, the opportunity for arts and entertainment venues to reopen arrived for the first time when the governor said those facilities could reopen at 33% capacity.

“New York’s beloved arts and entertainment venues have been hard hit by the public health guidance we’ve implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, and after a long and difficult period, I am glad to see them reopen their doors to New Yorkers,” Mr. Cuomo said in April.

However, that guidance didn’t translate into immediate openings for many small facilities trying to navigate scheduling and shifting COVID-19 protocols.

Guidelines have since eased for venues that require proof of vaccination from guests, which has allowed for near capacity crowds at sports arenas.

The Suffolk Theater website listed shows starting as early as June 11. The first show currently listed after Aug. 27 is An Evening With Roger McGuinn on Sept. 10.

Prior to the pandemic, the owner of the Suffolk Theater had proposed building a five-story expansion onto the rear of the building that would have 2,970 square feet of retail on the first floor and 28 market-rate apartments on the top four levels. Owner Bob Castaldi expressed concern at the time about the viability of the theater only being open two days a week. The goal, he said in 2019, was for the expansion to create a larger backstage and green room and allow the theater to become a performing arts center that could house concerts, plays, movies and other presentations. The expansion has not come up again for discussion since the pandemic before either the Town Board or Planning Board.