AMC Theatres feels it’s safe to come out of the pandemic woods and reopen.
A year after closing all of its locations due to COVID-19 concerns and six months after claiming it was on shaky ground financially, the movie theatre chain announced on Thursday that it will have 98 percent of its U.S. locations open by this Friday, March 19. By March 26, the company says it should have 99 percent of its theatres open to the public.
Moviegoer health is priority #1
At the top of its reopening checklist, the company is putting an emphasis on moviegoers’ health, and it feels like it has all the safety measures in place to meet that challenge. The company’s efforts in that regard include a slate of Safe & Clean policies and protocols developed in consultation with Clorox and with faculty at the Harvard University School of Public Health.
One of the more important additions emphasized in the company’s announcement is the upgrade of its air filtration system. The upgrade includes MERV-13 air filters, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says can trap smaller particles like viruses.
Here are some other health-conscious additions that returning moviegoers will find:
Social distancing & automatic seat blocking in each auditorium
Mandatory mask wearing
Easy availability of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer
AMC is also taking a hard line on employee health. Managers and crew members will have their temperatures checked before they begin their shift. If anyone has a fever or coronavirus-like symptoms, they will be required to self-quarantine until they are symptom-free for at least 72 hours.
Changes at the concession stand
AMC isn’t letting down its guard anywhere, including the concession stand. Moviegoers will have to verbally request condiments like ketchup, mustard, relish, buttery popcorn topping, and salt, but napkins, cup lids, and straws are available to grab and go.
The company is also changing how drink and popcorn refills are managed. Customers will have to ask the concessions crew for a new cup to refill their drink or a new tub to refill their popcorn.