With Some Movie Theaters Reopening, Here's What’s Changing With New Safety Protocols

Scream 2 theater

Different parts of the country are reopening businesses at different speeds, and so every place is in a different place. However, for the most part reopening is taking place everywhere. Businesses seen as being less risky are getting the ok first, followed by those seen as greater risk. This means that places where crowds are a virtual certainty, like movie theaters, are some of the last places opening up. However, some theaters are now beginning that process.

Florida based IPIC Theaters has announced that its 14 theaters will begin to reopen soon, with two of the regional chain's Texas locations opening on June 4 and another set for June 11. While this is certainly far from the same thing as a major national chain like AMC or Regal opening up, we likely can look at the safety precautions being taken to get an idea what theaters will look like when they reopen in the rest of the country.

The two biggest items on the list is that the theaters will only be open four days a week, Thursday-Sunday. The other three days the theater will be closed to allow for extensive cleaning. In addition, the theater will ensure proper social distancing between parties in common areas, including theaters. While not spelled out specifically, this certainly means that theaters will only sell a fraction of tickets that would fill any given theater, so that groups can leave empty seats to better separate from others.

Employees of the theaters will all be wearing face coverings, and while IPIC says it will encourage guests to do the same, it does not appear that will be required. Although, if you're planning to eat popcorn while in the theater, having a mask is only going to do so much good.

Check out the full list of changes below:

  • Pausing the blanket and pillow program in-theater
  • Requiring team members to wear protective masks and gloves and encouraging guests to wear masks in common areas
  • Enhanced sanitization protocols throughout the day, between showtimes and close of business using EPA approved disinfectant products
  • Addition of a staff position dedicated to sanitation of all common areas during business hours
  • Limiting theater operations to the public to Thursday through Sunday to allow for additional extensive cleaning
  • Ensuring proper social distancing between parties in the theaters and restaurants 
  • Minimizing guest interactions with our Servers and Ninjas, while maintaining our service-level quality
  • Addition of plexiglass at Guest Services and Express Counters

It's a safe bet that when the big national chain theaters open, which will likely happen in phases in different parts of the country, the new policies from the likes of AMC and Cinemark will look a lot like this.

At this point, it looks like most theaters aren't looking to reopen until mid to late July, which is when the first new release films are currently scheduled to hit. Although the idea of re-releasing popular movies is also being used in some places, and will likely be what theaters focus on if they do open up before films like Tenet and Mulan are ready to go.

If you were somebody who went to the theater a lot (shout out to most of the CinemaBlend office) then not going to the movies may have been the hardest thing to get used to. Are you planning to get back to the theater as soon as possible? Let us know in the poll below.

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Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.