The National Association of Theatre Owners of Illinois has outlined a proposal to Governor J.B. Pritzker to safely reopen movie theatres more quickly. The plan outlined by the group would likely help jobs come back to the economy and help provide a form of safe entertainment to residents this summer.
Dan Rogers, owner of RMC Cinemas, says that the South Jacksonville location has put together effective measures for employees and theatre goers to enjoy their summer blockbuster. “Our theatre in South Jacksonville, which has 8 screens, our first priority is the safety of our employees and our customers, and we are eager to welcome back our customers in a responsible manner. As far as the environment would go in the theatre, our restrooms are brand new. They don’t have doors on them. We would be doing extra sanitizing of the counters and toilet areas. We have purchases special EPA-approved products instead of just over-the-counter products, and in our auditoriums, what we are doing is we have purchased Protexus Electrostatic sprayers, which is what Delta Airlines is using in between flights. It’s a mist that goes through and electrostatically attaches and kills viruses on seating surfaces. Of course, we will wipe down the seats as well. This is an added protection that we’ve added. All products are geared towards the cornonavirus and have been accepted for cleaning purposes.”
Rogers says that according to NATO’s plan, seating capacity will be limited to 50% in auditoriums. “With limitation of seating, all of our auditoriums at this time have been converted to lighted, assigned seating. When the government tells us to limit our seating by 50% or to 25 to 50 people and what distances people have to stay apart, we are prepared to do that with our seat management system so we can spread everyone one and make sure everyone stays safe.”
He says that there won’t be a need to expand viewing schedules as summer release schedules have been delayed. He says RMC has plans to re-run classic films at discounted costs to lure people back to theatre. “The older films are going to be great to bring back because they are going to be the old classics and we’re to be doing it at a discounted price. To get people comfortable, we’re going to get them comfortable with a better price during this period and to get them more comfortable with reserved seating. We already had two auditoriums with reserved seating, which you either love it or you hate it. About 99% of the customers that have used it love it because they get to come in on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and pick their seating out and don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen when they get here Friday at show time.”
Rogers says that all employees will undergo enhanced cleaning training. PPE usage including face masks by employees will also be required. Employees will also be required to have their temperatures taken prior to work. Rogers anticipates that the Hollywood film schedule will accommodate for the shutdown of shooting by spacing and scheduling rearrangement. He expects that theatres will be allowed to reopen by mid to late June.