Coronavirus Outbreak: Texas movie theaters to reopen at 25% capacity, with ‘airport security-style check-in’ restrictions

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Texas government has eased restrictions on select nonessential businesses, including retail stores, restaurants, and movie theaters. Variety reports that a few cinema operators will reopen their Texas locations in the upcoming days with reduced prices and heightened safety measures.

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 Coronavirus Outbreak: Texas movie theaters to reopen at 25% capacity, with airport security-style check-in restrictions

Representational image of Movie theater | Twitter

EVO Entertainment in Texas plans to open two locations on Monday, employing “airport security-style check-in,” CEO Mitchell Roberts said. Guests will be ferried through a cordoned area in the front door, inquire whether anyone in their household had flu symptoms in the last 14 days, and finally be subjected to an infrared temperature screening. The theater will turn away anyone with a temperature of more than 100.4 degrees.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered theaters owners to adhere to a 25 percent capacity cap. According to the order, residents are also “encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings, but no jurisdiction can impose a civil or criminal penalty for failure to wear a face covering.”

According to Indiewire, EVO will reopen locations in Schertz, outside San Antonio, and Kyle, outside Austin, starting Monday. With no new films to flood screens, the plan is to present classics like The Goonies, more recent fare like Sonic the Hedgehog, and local favorites such as American Sniper.

“We’re looking at positive, feel-good stuff,” Roberts said. “Everyone has the same programming mantra — classic films, good, popular stuff.”

San Antonio-based Santikos Entertainment reportedly opened three of its nine theaters on Saturday with extra safety measures. Though the company’s website doesn’t mention temperatures screenings, it states all guests will be asked about acquiring any COVID-19 symptoms in past 14 days.

“We’re operating more for psychological value than net income,” Santikos CEO Tim Handren explained. “That’s what theaters are for — an escape. We’re going to provide that escape … It’s gonna be incredibly, incredibly safe. We’re going to be a finely tuned machine with all the protocols that are required.”

One of the films screenings at Santikos locations is the 1997 Jennifer Lopez-starrer biopic Selena, and as of Friday, 20% of seats had already been sold.

Both EVO and Santikos have reportedly decided to reduce ticket prices during the reopening phase, have eliminated cash transactions, and have revamped their concessions.

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Updated Date: May 03, 2020 15:07:33 IST

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