As more and more cinemas begin to open, theaters are unveiling enhanced protocols to keep moviegoers safe.
With major cities like New York and Los Angeles allowing theaters to reopen for the first time in a year, customers should expect a different multiplex experience than during those long-ago pre-pandemic days.
While social distancing and mandatory face masks have become commonplace in most indoor public spaces, some theaters are pulling out all the stops to ensure the health of their customers.
“We’re gearing up for this moment, for the magic moment for people to come back inside and enjoy naturally what is a communal experience, although now it’s a little more distanced,” Andrew Gualtieri, district manager of the Regency Theatres, told Variety.
Gualtieri elaborated on the enhanced features and protocols the chain has implemented.
The majority of ticket-buying will now be online or app-based and will enable for “seat buffering,” in which theater seats on either side of a particular group will be blocked off.
In between each movie showing, all seats and touch points are disinfected using an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer known as a sanitizing fogger. There will also be disinfecting wipes available for those wanting to further clean their surroundings, as well as hand sanitizing stations.
Concession stands will have plexiglass dividers and credit card swipe machines will face customers so as to avoid any unnecessary handling of personal belongings by staff.
And you’ll also have to be a little more patient before binging on popcorn, soda and candy.
“As soon as you get that popcorn, you want to jump right in, but you’ve got to wait until you sit down to start enjoying those snacks,” Gualtieri said.
Restrooms will also be set up to avoid crowding and theaters with two exit doors will allocate one for entrance and the other for exit.
Box office business continues to increase as the Los Angeles market alone has seen +1,100% jump in revenue from the same time last week, reported Deadline.
While still a long way to go from pre-pandemic times, last weekend the US box office made $20 million, with approximately 50% of all movie theaters open, according to Indiewire.