In a letter published Wednesday, Drafthouse Founder and Executive Chairman Tim League said the company has been hard at work planning changes to the movie-going experience that prioritize keeping film fans safe.
"It's not quite time to turn the projectors back on, but we're getting very close," League said. "We intend to make it so you can leave your car, make it to your seat, enjoy your food and drinks and be able to leave having never come within six feet of another person other than when your order is delivered, and having never touched a surface other than your chair and table – both of which will be sanitized between screenings with an electrostatic fogger and disinfectant."
Some of the steps Alamo Drafthouse theaters will be taking include:
- Ticket sales will be online-only, with at least two buffer seats between groups. After a screening, guests will exit the auditorium by row.
- Masks will be required for guests at all times except when eating and drinking. If you don't have a mask, one will be provided to you for free. And in coordination with local and state regulations, you should keep your mask on while you wait for your order and put it back on when you're finished.
- Masks and gloves will also be required for theater staff at all times, and they will regularly change their gloves and wash their hands at least every 30 minutes.
- In many theaters, food ordering and gratuity will be done in advance online when you buy your tickets.
- Every auditorium, and specifically chairs and tables, will be sanitized between screenings. Hand sanitizing wipes will also be available at your table.
- All theater staff will undergo temperature checks prior to starting their shifts. Where needed, guests will also have their temperatures taken on their way inside.
You can read more about the safety protocols being put into place here.
League said that the company will not reopen all locations at once. He said they are closely monitoring COVID-19 data in each community they serve and in cities or counties that have experienced fewer cases, some protocols may be relaxed when theaters reopen.
"However, we are not pinning our security solely to state and local regulations," League said. "Those are the base level – we intend to stay vigilant, carefully watch the data and to escalate our protocols at a moment's notice."
League said the company's first step will be reopening one or two locations as "learning labs of sorts" in early July. Then, the company expects to reopen other locations, a few at first and the rest "when we're ready and when we believe that the risk in that area has declined."
League said that the company anticipates that if and when the threat of COVID-19 begins to lessen, Drafthouse theaters will be able to "carefully and gradually" begin operating like normal. However, some of the new "common sense measures" will continue indefinitely, while others will evolve into new things.
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