Covid news: What to expect when you return to the movie theater

woman sitting on red folding armchairMovie theaters are reopening across America — although not yet here in North Carolina where I live. If you’re planning on going to the theater to see a movie, here are some things to look out for so you’ll have a comfortable and safe experience.

First. The movie theaters want you to be safe

Obviously, they are practicing social distancing. Theaters will keep their occupancy low so patrons can be spaced out.

Groups can sit together, but there will be ample spacing between any group of people. This actually isn’t as big a problem as you might think. AMC Theaters reported last year that their theaters averaged 17% occupancy — well below the threshold for social distancing. Theaters are sort of like churches: packed for Easter Sunday, and otherwise sparsely occupied.


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One big change is that the flow of patrons through the theater is now designed to prevent large groups of people intersecting

You still enter through the main entrance, but expect to exit via the sides, and do not return to the lobby to exit. Every theater has a different layout, and so each theater will make their own adjustments. So be aware of these considerations.

At the concession stand there will be dedicated employees for taking your order — and they may not accept cash.

Patrons aren’t the only ones practicing social distancing. Movies are spaced out as well

There will be at least one hour between shows, so that employees can give the theaters an electrostatic cleaning.

AMC Theaters, and many others, have upgraded their air filters to use MERV 13 — four times the filtration of standard air filters.

Obviously, masks are required unless you’re eating or drinking. This is the biggest concern of the manager I spoke with: how to deal with people who don’t comply?

It’s a dark theater, who’s going to know if you pull off your mask? I only know if I spot someone flaunting the mask rules I’ll accidentally spill water on you. “Oh gosh. I’m so sorry. I don’t know how that happened, you sorry piece of trash.” (If you make me uncomfortable, I swear I’ll return the favor.)

One issue that is difficult to manage is crowding in the restrooms when a movie lets out. If you gotta go, you gotta go.

This is one occasion where the RunPee app might actually be a literal lifesaver

If you run and pee during the movie, you’ll hopefully be able to skip the rush to the restroom afterwards.

One thing to consider is that the employees at the theater, or any establishment, can only remain as safe as the patrons allow.

Patrons who disregard safety protocols put others at risk, but it’s compounded for the employees who might be forced, face to face, with multiple patrons each day — who could potentially expose them to Covid-19. Eventually that will catch up with them.

So, to put it bluntly, if you’re going back to the theaters, then don’t be a jerk. Be considerate of those who make it possible for you to be there.

AMC Theaters may be headed for bankruptcy and what that means

More movie release date rescheduling due to CoVid-19

How we protect ourselves against CoVid-19 at the movies

 

Don’t miss your favorite movie moments because you have to pee or need a snack. Use the RunPee app (Android or iPhone ) whenever you go to the movies. We have Peetimes for all new wide release films every week, now including Tenet, The New Mutants, Palm Springs, and more. We have literally thousands of Peetimes from classic movies through today. You can also keep up with movie news and reviews on our blog or by following us on @RunPee@RunPee, and liking us on Facebook.

4 thoughts on “Covid news: What to expect when you return to the movie theater”

  1. Sadly, whatever the cinemas do it can’t fully accommodate the stupidity of the patrons; particularly, though not exclusively, the ones who aren’t regular cinemagoers.

    My cinema has adjusted it’s ordering screens so that every other row does not show up. Obviously though, all of the rows are still physically there. So someone wants a seat in the middle. The back row is booked so they pick the next row forward. However, when they walk into the studio they don’t bother looking at the row numbers on their tickets and just go and sit directly in front of the family behind negating the idea of a safety row!

    This happened on Sunday.

    This is why I always sit tucked away in the corner…

  2. I’m not looking forward to the patrons stupidity that’s for sure. I am excited that #AMC is thinking outside the box; you can fill your drinks cups with their app so you don’t have to touch buttons. Woohoo!

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