The country's largest theater chain will implement a wide array of social distancing and sanitary measures and plan to officially re-open July 15. AMC says it will open 450 of its U.S. locations on July 15 followed by the remaining 150 on July 24 just in time for Disney's Mulan and Warner Bros.' Tenet.
Like its rivals, obviously the movie chain is implementing a wide array of sanitary and social distancing measures in order to make customers feel comfortable amid ongoing concerns about COVID-19, including staggered seating.
AMC will approach seat capacity limitations in four distinct phases. Phase 1, which commences July 15, reduces seating capacity to just 30 percent. In non-recliner auditoriums, AMC will automatically block out every other row of seats for every showtime.
During Phase 2, capacity will rise to 40 percent and then to 50 percent during Phase 3, which is expected to commence around Labor Day. Full capacity may not be allowed until Thanksgiving. (The dates of these third and fourth phases may be adjusted based on local and regional health conditions at the time.)
AMC CEO Adam Aron said, "We came up with this reopening plan after consulting with The Clorox Company and the Harvard University’s School of Public Health. We're also planning on a phased reopening that has four separate stages." When asked when we could expect full houses again, he replied, " We don't expect full capacity to be allowed until Thanksgiving."
Today's announcement by AMC follows similar releases issued earlier this week by Cinemark Theaters and Regal CInemas, the country's two other largest chains. Virtually all in-door movie theaters have been closed since mid-March, bringing the box office to a standstill. Now, circuits will have to spend millions to make sure consumers feel comfortable returning.
"After a painful almost four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus, we are delighted to announce that movies are coming back to the big screen at AMC. Our next 100 years of making smiles happen officially begin at approximately 450 theatres across the United States on July 15," Aron said in a statement. "I cannot emphasize enough how much care and attention to detail we have taken in developing AMC Safe & Clean, our absolute commitment to optimizing the health and safety of our theatres for our guests and associates."
Theater chains such as AMC will institute a number of new regiments upon reopening, including new health protocols for employees, encouraging guests to wear masks, sanitizing between showings and rearranging concession sales.
AMC said the resumption of operations could be impacted if Mulan (July 14) or Tenet (July 31) are further delayed by Disney and Warner Bros., respectively.
Listed below are the additional measures AMC is implementing:
Every auditorium will be cleaned between each showtime with enhanced hard surface disinfection including doors, handrails, recliner buttons, and tray tables. There will be extra time allocated between showtimes to allow a full, thorough cleaning of each auditorium.
Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be found throughout theatres for guest use as well.
The products used for sanitation and disinfection at AMC are EPA approved for use against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens including COVID-19.
All theatre associates are required to wear masks while in the theatre. All theatre associates will take their temperature and undergo a health assessment screening prior to their shift. If any theatre associate is found to have a fever or symptoms, or self-reports a fever or symptoms, he or she will not work but will be compensated nonetheless.
In areas of the country where guests are required to wear masks, AMC will abide by that ordinance and guests will be required to wear masks except while eating and drinking. Guests at other locations are strongly encouraged to wear a mask during their visit to AMC. For guests who would like to purchase a mask upon arrival, they will be available for $1 at all locations. Contactless Ticketing. AMC strongly recommends that guests use AMC’s world-class online ticketing and mobile app for ticketless entry. Not only does this save time at the box office, but it minimizes the amount of interactions for a guest.
Menu selections have been temporarily reduced at all AMC locations to ensure a more efficient service, minimizing the amount of time it takes to prepare and serve, and reducing wait times.