Movie theaters are opening back up to the public, but does that mean people will go?
As of Aug. 20, AMC Theaters has begun to open up 100 of their theaters to the public. After being shut down for nearly five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AMC came face-to-face with near bankruptcy, as did other well-known movie theater companies. With Hollywood releases at a standstill, movie theaters across the nation halted all screenings and showings. Now, as movie productions begin to reset their release dates, other movie theater chains, such as Regal and Alamo Drafthouse, are following in AMC’s footsteps. With these theaters reopening, the question must be asked: will people go?
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a physician and epidemiologist, cautions against movie theaters at this time to prevent any spread but if people do choose to go, he would “tell people to wear a mask and keep it on the entire time. And do everything touchless…” Even better in his eyes, as well as other doctors, are outdoor movies. “Outdoor movie theaters, or watching a movie in your car, those are great,” Dr. El-Sayed stated. While helping prevent spread, experts agree that outdoor movies also allow for fun.
While these theaters continue to open up, it has ultimately been left to the state governments to assess their local situation and decide whether or not they want to reopen certain theaters. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York hinted that the next public spaces he opens in his city are movie theaters. By requiring masks and social distancing, he believes that theaters will be safe enough to reopen and get business started up again. “We tell them to wear a mask, we keep social distancing, you can buy food — but don’t eat the food until you get into the theater,” said Dr. Robert Lahita, chairman of medicine at St. Joseph’s Health in New Jersey. “Nothing is 100% safe,” Lahita adds. “But I would say you’re 95 [percent] safe if you go to the movies [with all of the stated measures in place].”