Saturday, March 14, 2020

Movie Theaters Put Social Distancing Into Place In Response to COVID-19

Posted By on Sat, Mar 14, 2020 at 6:21 PM

While local theaters such as The Loft are limiting tickets and canceling events, national theaters are doing the same.

Currently, there is a large banner at the top of the AMC website with a special message. They stress:
Movie Theaters Put Social Distancing Into Place In Response to COVID-19
Courtesy Harkins

To give you more empty space around you within our theatres, we are capping ticket availability to 50% of the normal seating capacity for every showtime in every auditorium at all AMC theatres nationwide. Once we hit 50% of an auditorium’s capacity, movie screenings will show as being Sold Out, even though by definition there will be a large number of unfilled seats. This will begin Saturday, March 14, and for now, will continue until April 30.
For those AMC auditoriums with more than 500 seats, we will further reduce bookings to a maximum of 250 people in any case.
And, it goes without saying that AMC is actively complying with all current and future federal, state and local authorities’ directives on social gathering.


AMC theatre teams are following AMC’s stringent health and safety cleaning protocols, which include that every auditorium is thoroughly cleaned between each and every showtime.
In addition, AMC has instituted enhanced cleaning protocols, which ensure that at least once per hour within an AMC building, the theatre team is cleaning high-touch point areas, including: kiosks, counter tops, restroom areas, glass, handrails and doorknobs.


AMC has mandated that any theatre associate who feels ill is excused from work and should not come to the theatre. We urge all potential guests to stay at home and seek medical assistance if they are not feeling well.

Harkins also has a banner to learn more on their own site. They have very similar heightened protocols including:
  • Regularly and continually sanitizing touchpoint areas and surfaces (seats, door handles, counters, dispensers, touch screens, railings, etc.)
  • Making available alcohol-based hand sanitizer for our guests and team members
  • Existing use of motion-sensor restroom equipment that requires no physical touch
  • Educating and monitoring our employees regarding the recognition of respiratory symptoms in our guests and our team members, to ensure those with symptoms stay home to get well
  • Ensuring preventative measures with our teams such as social distancing, hand washing, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
  • Reducing the amount of sellable seats in some theaters to allow for more distance between guests
  • Continuing to honor our loyalty cup refills, but providing a substitute disposable paper cup as a temporary measure
  • Temporarily reducing the price of all popcorn and drink sizes by $1, and discontinuing refills on large sizes
Both companies are following guidelines put forth from the WHO and CDC regarding social distancing, a term that we will very quickly become very familiar with.

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Tara Foulkrod