LOS ANGELES -- AMC Theatres, the world’s largest movie theater chain, said that it will resume theatre operations beginning July, 15, in a statement posted to the companies Twitter account on June 18.
AMC also discussed various steps it is taking to optimize the “timeliness, safety and profitability” of its reopenings, including seeking guidance from esteemed health officials on creating a safe environment for guests, as well as working closely with “local, national and international officials to understand and coordinate the timing and requirements under which we can reopen.”
The company said it will "implement a comprehensive health and sanitation program entitled "AMC Safe & Clean."
The new initiative means that auditoriums will be reduced to 30% capacity or less, based on municipality guidelines, according to the chain.
AMC has released a list of health protocols on their website.
According to the new health and safety guidelines, all AMC staff will be required to wear masks and have their temperatures read before starting their shifts and any workers who experience a fever or symptoms will be required to self-quarantine until symptom-free for at least 72-hours.
Staff will also be required to "wash their hands routinely for at least 20 seconds," according to a release by the company.
A simplified menu will also be put in place and various items such as napkins, lids, straws and condiments will have to be requested by a patron.
There had been previous concerns regarding the future of the movie theater chain amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization had to shut down theaters in response to lockdown orders, with AMC warning as recently as last week that it may not survive the pandemic.
The company said it has enough cash to reopen its theaters this summer as planned. But if it’s not allowed to reopen, it will need more money, which it may not be able to borrow. Film delays are another concern. AMC noted that people may be afraid to go to theaters, but hopes the desire for social distancing is temporary and that people will want to go to the movies again.
“Due to these factors, substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time,” AMC wrote in a regulatory filing. The publicly-traded company, controlled by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, has 1,000 theaters in the U.S. and Europe.
What the moviegoing experience may look like amid the COVID-19 pandemic is still unclear and are likely dependent on a particular state or city’s COVID-19 restrictions. Theaters would likely be unable to sell out entire screenings, as the close proximity of seats would make it extremely difficult for patrons to follow social distancing health guidelines.
In California, for example, new guidance from the state health department states that movie theaters must limit attendance to 25 percent of “theater capacity or a maximum amount of 100 attendees,” whichever is lower.