After four months in lockdown, AMC Theatres has announced plans to re-open its 600 venues globally.
As the world’s largest cinema chain, it released a statement saying that it will begin re-opening in a multi-phase approach, with 450 of their theaters to reopen on July 15th. They are expecting them to be fully operational for the premiere of Disney’s Mulan on 24th July.
With public safety as upmost priority, AMC will be implementing their health guidelines ‘AMC Safe & Clean’, collaborating with The Clorax Company and Harvard University’s School of Public Health, including limiting seating capacity to respect social distancing measures, new cleaning procedures, upgraded ventilation filters to help eliminate airborne particles, sanitising stations, and contactless payments to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It will not be compulsory for the public to wear masks to the theatres, but AMC will require its employees to do so. There will be no temperature checks either for customers entering the cinemas, but employees will have to undergo screenings to check for signs of coronavirus.
CEO Adam Aron assured people that they are treading carefully with their guidelines, as some states will require people to wear masks in public spaces:
“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy. We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask-wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary. We think that the vast majority of AMC guests will be wearing masks. When I go to an AMC feature, I will certainly be wearing a mask and leading by example.”
AMC also said it will increase capacity gradually in stages, starting with 30% capacity each showtime. AMC projects that it will be at full capacity by Thanksgiving (26th November).
With huge pressure to bring customers back to cinemas, AMC has worked on an industry-wide scheme, with talent agency CAA and overseen by former IMAX Entertainment chief Greg Foster, to make the public aware of their new guidelines.
“We remain cautious on the company’s outlook as well as that of the industry ahead of theatre re-openings in the coming weeks — with a continued focus on how receptive consumers are to returning to theatres, how robust the film slate remains, and the level of impact from attendance restrictions.”Eric Wold, an analyst at B. Riley FBR Research
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