Movie theaters reopen with COVID-19 guidelines

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Oliver Fichte

Movie theaters remain empty after reopening as many customers don’t think it’s safe, even with precautions.

Movie theaters throughout the Bay Area are beginning to reopen as the pandemic ensues and utilizing new safety guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.

Theaters opened at different times, reopening in San Mateo County in late September, while Cinemark theaters in Alameda County began to reopen on Oct. 27. In San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, theaters began opening on Oct. 30. 

Since the pandemic caused a shelter in place order for many Bay Area counties in mid-March, many people have missed going to the movies with friends and family as businesses were reopening, while the theaters remained closed. But now that they are open, a question arises: how are the movie theaters going to keep us safe? 

According to the websites of both Cinemark and Cinépolis, two large movie theater companies with many bay area branches, they are making sure to follow the CinemaSafe guidelines to protect their customers and employees.

The CEO of Cinemark, Mike Zoradi, explained in a short video how his brand of cinemas throughout the USA is keeping people safe. 

“From the moment you first step back through our doors, until when you leave following the end credits, it will be clear that we’re changing how we work and setting the Cinemark standard,” Zoradi said. 

Some of these new COVID-19 safety guidelines include frequent sanitization, social distancing, and reduced seating, which, as of Oct. 27, is 50% capacity or roughly around 200 people. For employees, there are periodic health screenings checking for symptoms or presence of the virus.

According to a recent press release, customer feedback at Cinemark theaters has been very positive, with 97% satisfaction among people who have visited since the reopenings.

However, some Carlmont students seem to have mixed feelings about the new reopening. Tyler Newman, a sophomore at Carlmont, does not find the guidelines enough, at least with the virus’s current state. 

“I’m just trying to stay safe. I don’t want to risk it, so I’m just not going,” Newman said. “If new movies come out and if the COVID-19 cases are low, I would go.” 

Another Carlmont student, Kevin Bachelor, a junior, was an avid moviegoer before the pandemic but refuses to go now, due to his safety concerns.

“I don’t feel like it’s a safe thing to do,” Bachelor said. “Even if everyone kept their masks on, sitting inside for that long with so many people is just a recipe for spreading the virus significantly.”

Whether you are planning on visiting a theater or not during the pandemic, it is still crucial to know how to stay safe and wear a mask, inside cinemas and out. The movie theaters are helping where they can, but it is still everyone’s responsibility to be cautious regarding the coronavirus.

“We promise to do our part to make your entertainment experience safe, clean, and comfortable, and we cannot wait to have you back. It’s showtime,” Zoradi said.

Even though movie theaters greatly encourage buying tickets online, they also offer ways to purchase them without the need for human contact.(Oliver Fichte)