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AMC Theatres, one of the major movie theater chains in the U.S., reopens its upholstered doors. Along with Regal, Cinemark, and Markus Corp, AMC is opening in specific locations after a five-month hiatus.
The hiatus was triggered by President Trump’s guideline concerning social and public gatherings. The directive stated that people should avoid getting together in groups of more than ten people. To adhere to that guideline, cinema chains all over the country shut down last March.
In June, AMC has said that it may not survive the pandemic. Although some local governments eased the cinemas’ restrictions, AMC and other theater chains have other factors to worry about. Entertainment companies and film studios mainly bring about one of these factors.
The dramatic closing of cinema houses has led executives and producers to delay the release of new movies. Moreover, film studios have stated that they could push through movie releases via streaming services like Netflix or Disney Plus.
On that note, Universal Studios announced last March that they are renting their then-current and upcoming movies. This move was a breakthrough to the film industry as home viewing becomes viable due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable.”NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell
Today, AMC, along with other cinema chains, will reopen in most areas. New York, Maryland, New Jersey, and three other states are not included as government officials say it remains too hazardous. The movie theater chains will have uniformed strict health and safety protocols. The protocols were announced last Friday, and they are as follows:
- Wearing face masks is required for all staff and moviegoers.
- Limiting capacity to 40 percent or 50 percent (depending on the chain)
- No condiment stations
- Plexiglass partitions
- Enhanced air-filtration systems
- Disinfecting the whole cinema after every screening
However, will these be enough to entice the public to watch a movie?
Dr. Amesh Adalja says yes, as long as the right preventive protocols are in place. The senior scholar at the John Hopkins University Center for Health Security adds handwashing areas should be accessible and plenty.
“The real key thing is capacity and allowing room for social distancing.”Dr. Amesh Adalja
It is a bittersweet feeling for movie theaters to open. Nonetheless, there are still risks with going on a public place. The risk can be geographically dependent and the level of viral transmission. And, in the end, it all boils down to how people will evaluate the risks.