After months of binge-watching Netflix and YouTube videos, you soon will be able to go back to the movies. Texas movie theaters were allowed to reopen back on May 1st as part of Gov. Abbott's Phase One for reopening after the coronavirus pandemic. But many theaters chose to take it slow and ensure they could reopen safely while meeting guidelines for limited capacity and social distancing.
Now, a month after getting the green light, some theater chains are cautiously ready to welcome people back. IPIC Theaters, a luxury chain with locations in multiple states, is reopening its Houston location June 4th, and its Austin location June 11th. IPIC CEO Paul Safran says they've instituted many changes to maintain safety in light of Covid-19. "We've purchased thermal scanners that we will be using at all of our sites, that will monitor temperatures of not only our team members, but also our guests and vendors who come to the sites," he tells KTRH.
IPIC is also instituting deep sanitation cleaning procedures at all of its locations, while Safran notes their theaters are already set up for social distancing. "We have spacious theaters, but our seating is typically 40 to 80 seats per theater," he says. "In the same configuration with traditional seating, you may see 150 to 200 seats."
Ultimately, Safran believes the reopening will be successful. "It's been a long shutdown process, and we believe that our guests are as anxious as we are to get back to the movies," he says. "Texas is obviously our first locations that are reopening, but we'll use this as a guideline for reopening sites in our other jurisdictions as well."
But not everyone is ready to reopen just yet. Alamo Drafthouse, another luxury theater chain with locations across Texas, told KTRH they still don't have a set reopening date. An Alamo Drafthouse spokesperson sent the following statement:
“Opening safely is a very complex project that involves countless new procedures and equipment, all of which require extensive training. This is something we cannot and will not do casually or quickly. We will not be opening this weekend. But know this, when we do open, we will be providing the safest possible experience for both our staff and our guests and we can’t wait to see you all again!”