Movie Theater Reopening Process and How Guests Can Stay Safe


Valentina Arias

Theaters are following new safety guidelines in their reopening to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Kate Stuzin , Managing Editor

As Miami transitioned to Phase 3, movie theaters finally began to reopen after months of inactivity. As of now, the only two movie theatres to reopen in the general vicinity of Palmetto, AMC Sunset Place and The Landmark at Merrick Park, follow safety standards set by CinemaSafe. The new safety protocol includes methods to reduce auditorium capacity, minimize touchpoints and shorten concession lines by using simplified menus. 

Personal Protection Equipment

Guests and employees must wear masks in the theater, except when consuming food or beverages while seated. In the theater, you may wear surgical masks or cloth masks, but the theater does not permit neck gaiters, open-chin bandanas or masks with vents. Throughout the theater, patrons and employees have access to hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipe stations. 

Theater staff must undergo a health screening before and after their shifts, including a temperature check. They also must routinely wash their hands for a minimum of  20 seconds. In addition to masks, employees must wear gloves to reduce transactional contact with each other and guests. Employees will serve guests behind plexi-glass barriers, which ensures additional face-to-face protection.

Concessions and Tickets

In order to allow for shorter lines and quicker service, theaters have reduced their menu options to classic snacks such as popcorn, soda, candy, nachos and more. Social distancing directional stickers mark where guests should stand in line so they remain six feet apart . 

Theaters have closed off their condiment stations to reduce touch points; patrons can instead request condiments like ketchup or popcorn butter at the register. At the register, guests may only use credit, debit or gift cards to purchase food in order to avoid shared contact between cash and food handling. 

Guests can use cash when purchasing tickets, but should attempt to use cashless methods or purchase their ticket online whenever possible to help reduce contact. Guests also have the opportunity to purchase gift cards at ticket booths with cash in order to buy concessions. 

Reduced Auditorium Capacities

All auditoriums operate at 40% capacity or less. When you reserve your seat, new ticketing technology blocks off the seats on either side of you. In auditoriums that do not offer reserved seating, guests should leave a seat in between each party. A party can include no more than 10 members sitting side by side.

AMC offers guests the opportunity to host a private movie screening for up to 20 guests. The prices start at $99 plus tax for fan fave films, or $149 plus tax for new releases. You must book the rental at least a day in advance and a crew member will scan your group ticket once your complete party arrives. 

Cleaning Procedures

New electrostatic disinfectant sprayers help employees maximize surface coverage when disinfecting auditoriums before and after each showing. Employees will sanitize common areas and high touch points like doorknobs, countertops and armrests with Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectant throughout the day.

The building’s air filters will be replaced and upgraded with MERV 13 filters, which can trap more air particles, whenever possible. After the theater closes, employees will vacuum carpeted areas using vacuums with HEPA filters that trap 99.97% of airborne particles, according to the Centers for Disease Control.