Over here at Comic Years, we’ve been keeping a close eye on movie theaters all around the globe. While we’re eager to sit back in a theater seats with a big ol’ bucket of popcorn, and we’re also hopeful that we can do so safely. There have been plenty of locations in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan that have reopened screens to a varying degree of success. But now, as we head into summer blockbuster season, North American theaters are desperate to reopen. So, what will it look like now that theaters are reopening?
Theaters Reopening, Causing Fear And Excitement Everywhere
Disney’s Mulan has a planned release date of July 24th. Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is set for July 31st. Since two highly anticipated films are opening soon, its on theaters to open and learn how to do so safely before that time comes. AMC, the largest theater chain in the U.S., is planning on reopening 450 locations on July 15th. The remaining locations will open prior to Mulan’s release. Cineplex, Canada’s largest theater chain, will also open in early July. Though it’s fantastic to know that we can watch films on the big screen soon, it’s also important to pay attention to what kind of social distancing rules will apply.
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures.
AMC To Implement Guidelines
AMC released a detailed plan for how they will approach social distancing. Their “Safe & Clean” sanitation program is designed to ensure that things are cleaned much more efficiently and effectively. Additionally, social distancing measures will create seat limitations, which will change as time goes forward. Only 30% of seats will be sold at first, and seat blocking will be in effect. Based on the success of the 30% ticket limitations, this number will increase to allow more seats to be filled.
Theater associates will also be impacted by safety measures. Each associate will wear a mask when inside the theater, will have their temperature taken, and undergo a “health assessment” prior to each shift. You’ll still be able to purchase food at the theater, but the menu will be reduced. Their plan doesn’t state what will be eliminated, but we’re predicting that theater staples like popcorn and packaged candy will still be available.
AMC created outrage amongst future guests by noting that masks will only be required in places where it is already a requirement. Other places would only “encourage” the use of masks. After numerous complaints, they issued a new plan stating that all guests nationwide must wear a mask. If you don’t have a mask to bring with you, one can be purchased for $1.
Cineplex Still Not On Board With Mask-wearing
COVID-19 numbers in Canada are much lower compared to the U.S., though many provinces still have an alarming number of cases. Regardless of the case numbers, many people feel safer knowing that strict guidelines (such as mask-wearing) are implemented. When Cineplex announced that you’re free to go maskless, many were understandably upset.
Cineplex has yet to release a comprehensive list of all their new safety measures. Their statement did explain that an “industry-leading program with end-to-end health and safety protocols” will be in place, however. Even if masks aren’t a requirement, it’s likely that reduced capacity and seat blocking will be in effect.
Image via Walt Disney Pictures.
So, Mask Or No Mask Now That Theaters Are Reopening?
The requirement to wear masks has sparked passionate debates all around the world. Many find that wearing one is uncomfortable or anxiety-inducing, while others deem it necessary. Regardless of your personal preference, research has proved its effectiveness. A new study has found that airborne transmission is the “dominant” way of spreading COVID-19. The research also goes on to say that social distancing and similar measures are “insufficient by themselves,” but that “mandated face covering” can significantly “reduce the number of infections.”
Sure, you can briefly remove your mask to eat some popcorn. But when you’re in the presence of others, especially in busier areas like theater lobbies, keeping your mask on may just save your life or the life of other theatergoers. Getting sick just to see Mulan doesn’t seem to be worth it, especially if a mask can prevent the illness.
Now that theaters are reopening, let us know how you plan on approaching movie nights. Will you buy tickets the day they go on sale? Are you waiting for a specific film to release before you go out? Let us know your thoughts on the latest movie news.
Featured image via Unsplash.
Meghan Hale is a graduate student living right outside of Toronto, Canada. She has always been the go-to gal for talking about anything film related and has a frustratingly long list of movie trivia up her sleeve. She is currently working on her first screenplay, as well as a horror novel, with the goal of publishing it while Stephen King is still around to read it.