Movie theaters are in the midst of reopening in the coming weeks. AMC is set to open on August 20th to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of AMC Entertainment by offering 15-cent ticket prices, and they also recently came out with a video detailing the steps they’re taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure every customer has a safe experience.
But while those steps may be well-intentioned and necessary, one health expert isn’t going anywhere near a movie theater right now. While speaking with the AV Club, Dr. Anne W. Rimoin, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Global and Immigrant Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, believes that the experience just isn’t safe yet.
“Short of renting out an entire theater, which is obviously not an option for most of us, there is no scenario in which going to a movie theater is a good idea,” Dr. Rimoin said.
She goes on to say that the theater experience represents everything not to do during a pandemic, which is still very much alive.
“I mean, the people need to realize that there really is no zero-risk scenario during this COVID pandemic,” she said. “We’re advising people to not interact with others beyond their immediate family or home bubbles unless absolutely necessary, to limit gatherings of more than 10 people in any given space, and to avoid indoor areas. And you should definitely not be in an indoor area where you’d be taking your mask off, not even for eating. Movie theaters have all of that.”
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And despite a mask requirement by these theater chains when visiting, it defeats the purpose when you then have to eat popcorn and drink soda inside of a windowless room for a couple of hours.
“And if they’re selling concessions, people are gonna be taking off their masks and eating, and that’s tantamount to eating in a restaurant in a closed space — even worse, because you’re basically in a closed box. There aren’t even windows, there’s no ventilation. Right now you want to be thinking about ‘time, space, people, place’: You want to think about the amount of time you’re spending, how socially distant you can be, who you will be around, and what the ventilation is like. And it’s not just one of those boxes you should check; you need to be checking all of them.”
The video by AMC Theatres mentions better ventilation, but it’s still a very risky proposition. Theater chains will do anything they can though to entice moviegoers to fill that empty void of seeing something on the big screen.
Obviously, we all want to feel normal again and visit our favorite local cinema. But the pandemic has put a pause on most of the things we love, and in order to enjoy them again, we need to show some patience. Unfortunately, however, theaters can’t really afford to remain shut down any longer, thus creating the Catch-22 we now find ourselves in.
But tell us, will you be heading back to big screen in the near future to check out any upcoming movies? Or will you be staying away? As always, let us know down below.