We have a much better idea of what it's going to look like when movie theaters reopen, thanks to the state of Georgia. Recently Governor Brain Kemp revealed plans to help open the stage back up following the weeks-long lockdown. While many other states are still holding off, movie theaters and other businesses in Georgia will be allowed to reopen, albeit with strict rules that will help keep social distancing measures in place. For cinema lovers, this will mean a largely changed experience.
Per the state's outlines, parties attending showings at movie theaters will need to be seated at least six feet apart, and no party can be larger than six people. This will heavily limit theater capacity, which was expected to be a major part of allowing theaters to open up again. Ushers at the theaters will be required to help enforce social distancing protocols. Tape will need to be placed on floors at ticket counters to keep people at a safe distance from one another. Additionally, employees will be required to clean every seat, armrest, door handle, handrail and doorknob before and after each showing.
Even though theaters are allowed to open in Georgia, for the most part, they remain closed. Major chains such as AMC, Regal and Cinemark, as well as the Alamo Drafthouse, are choosing to stay closed for the time being. AMC recently explained that they won't be opening up again until there are big, new movies to show, and that won't be until July at the earliest when Christopher Nolan's Tenet arrives, assuming its current date sticks. That only leaves smaller theater operators to make the choice of whether to follow these guidelines and resume operations again.
Be that as it may, this gives us a better idea of what a post-quarantine movie theater experience might look like. While these are the minimum requirements outlined by Georgia, meaning other states and the White House can enact different measures to help keep visitors safe, it seems likely the big chains will take, at the very least, similar steps to help ensure the safety of their patrons. The question is, will people still want to go to theaters once this is over, especially given the strict measures that will be in place? And will theaters be able to turn a profit with much smaller crowds?
There are indications that certain people crave the theatrical experience right now. Drive-in theaters across the U.S. have been thriving in recent weeks, as they represent the only game in town. While some new movies, such as Trolls World Tour, are being screened, it is largely older movies that these drive-ins have been showcasing. That will be the case for chains like AMC as well once they try to open back up, as it will take some time to get a regular rotation of new releases back in the rotation again. We'll be sure to keep you posted as the situation develops. This news comes to us via WSB-TV.