Movie Theaters Are Open Again!

Jane Harig, Staff Writer

The pandemic does not stop for movie viewing. Though the theaters have opened again, COVID19 continues. Some theaters have specific safety protocols. With more movies coming out (and
some coming out both in theaters and on platforms like Disney +), it is time to see what theaters
are doing to keep people safe, and how high schoolers feel about going to the movies during the

As expected, the risk factor goes up for those going to the movies who are not vaccinated.
According to a Mayo Clinic article on different states’ progress of vaccination, about 60 percent
of Washington is vaccinated, as of Sept. 27. In an article written back in May of 2021 from the
Washington Post, it states that studies “suggest that you are not as likely to contract the
coronavirus through surfaces such as seat rests or handrails as you are from airborne particles.”
The National Association of Theater Owners authorized CinemaSafe guidelines, a
program made and supported by epidemiologists. Both AMC and Regal theaters are using
CinemaSafe guidelines, but are also following CDC guidelines. Regal states that the “movie
theatre industry will continue to meet or exceed state and local public health guidelines.” At the
AMC theaters “masks are recommended for everyone regardless of vaccination status,” and even
required at some theaters.

Both AMC and Regal are recommending masks and following state and local mandates.
Regal is having their work members go through daily health screenings and decreasing capacity
size on auditoriums, so less people will be allowed in each theater, giving others a chance to
space out throughout the auditorium while watching a movie. AMC is a member of the Clorox
Safer Today Alliance, which involves fresh air flow, thorough cleaning procedures, filter
vacuums for carpeted area, and disinfecting hand sanitizer stations. The alliance has EPA
approved disinfection solutions. According to the Clorox website the “Alliance members also
have access to the world-class expertise of the CDC Foundation and Cleveland Clinic, to inform
their infection protocols and ensure best-practices.” Besides AMC, places like Uber are also
using the Clorox Safer Today Alliance.

Though many people want to go back to the theaters, with all the streaming services at
home, many people are able to watch movies from the comfort of their living room instead of
going into the theater.

Overall, high schoolers are feeling that movie theaters should have certain COVID-19
protocols. Sophomore Rachel Dennie explains that though she likes going to Regal in the
highlands with friends, she has not been to the theater since they have opened again. When asked
if she thought theaters were COVID-19 safe, Dennie said that she feels “they are COVID safe
because people are spaced apart, and other public places aren’t any safer.” When asked what she
thought theaters could do to stay safe, she suggested “movie theaters should enforce staff
cleaning where people have sat or on surfaces they’ve touched.” Though Dennie says she does
not watch a lot of recent movies; she is looking forward to seeing “Don’t Look Up” “simply
because it has Leonardo Dicaprio in it.”

Junior Ellie Roberts has also not been back to the theaters since they have opened, but did
watch a lot of movies over the summer. One of her favorites was “Black Widow,” which came
out both in theaters and on Disney +. Regarding safety in theaters, she says, “It depends on the
movie theater, I think different theaters should take different precautions, specific to their
facilities, like capacity and cleaning and enforcing masks.”

Senior Gavin Soleibe also suggests enforcing social distancing, and to top it off, he thinks
theaters could make the experience of going to see a movie even more enjoyable by giving free
food. Freshman Ishaan Agarwal agrees with a similar idea, and feels that to keep theaters safe,
they should “decrease capacity limit so people can stay socially distanced.” He went to see
“Black Widow” over the summer and is looking forward to seeing “Shang-Chi and the Legend
of the Ten Rings.” Marvel has a huge fan base, so if anyone is looking for something to watch,
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is the way to go!