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New York City bans cell phones during public performances

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NEW YORK CITY (Reuters) -- Cellular telephones won't be ringing in Broadway theaters, movie houses or concert halls -- at least not legally -- as of Sunday as New York City restricts the use of mobile phones to improve the quality of life there.

The new law bans the use of mobile phones in "any indoor theater, library, museum, gallery, motion picture theater, concert hall or building in which theatrical, musical, dance, motion picture, lecture or other similar performances are exhibited."

Passed by the City Council, which overrode a veto by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said the ban was unenforceable, the law carries a fine of $50 for offenders who are caught and cited.

The legislation was first proposed by theater owners whose patrons complained of cell phones ringing during performances.

The ban, however, includes a large loophole -- city council members ruled their own chambers exempt, despite the often raucous, public performances that take place there.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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