Some Movie Theaters Reopening With Health and Temperature Checks During Coronavirus Pandemic

Texas allowed movie theaters to reopen this week and some of them are doing just that, albeit with the implementation of health and temperature checks amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic. According to Variety, EVO Entertainment and Santikos Entertainment are reopening locations in Austin and San Antonio at reduced capacity with EVO Entertainment theaters checking in with customers about flu-like symptoms and infrared temperature screening, turning away anyone registering a temperature above 100.4 degrees.

"I feel like it's really important for our guests to come in and see what we're doing to protect them," EVO Entertainment CEO Mitchell Roberts said. "The focus is on earning that customer confidence back."

EVO Entertainment plans to open their theater locations outside of San Antonio and Austin on Monday with the venues operating at 25 percent capacity per state restriction as well as with the requirement that guests wear masks. In San Antonio, Santikos Entertainment is opening three of its nine locations as of Saturday, and while they are encouraging customers to wear masks, it's not required, though both companies have reconfigured food service to reduce contact, eliminated cash transactions, and are utilizing social distancing measures for safety. Both companies are charging reduced ticket prices as well with Santikos screening Universal's Trolls World Tour and films that were released just prior to the coronavirus pandemic, hoping to offer guests an "escape".

"We're operating more for the psychological value than net income," Santikos CEO Tim Handren said. "That's what theaters are for -- an escape. We're going to provide that escape."

EVO, which will open locations on Monday, plans to screen classics like The Goonies along with more recent releases such as Sonic the Hedgehog and local favorites as well.

While EVO and Santikos may be opening locations, most major cinema chains are not expected to open even in those states relaxing their coronavirus restrictions. AMC Theatres has already said that they do not plan to reopen until July, tentatively, as that's when they expect that major studio tentpoles will be back in theaters while others are remaining closed as it may not be financially feasible until new wide release films are available.

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"While some states and localities are beginning to authorize the opening of movie theaters under certain conditions, the movie theater industry is also a national one," the National Association of Theatre Owners noted in recent statement. "Until the majority of markets in the U.S. are open, and major markets in particular, new wide release movies are unlikely to be available. As a result, some theaters in some areas that are authorized to open may be able economically to reopen with repertory product; however, many theaters will not be able to feasibly open."

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