Ever since COVID-19 forced many businesses to close and pause all regular duties, people have used innovation and creativity to keep their business alive and make it through the pandemic. Movie theaters however, have taken a different approach. Originally tackling this issue by releasing films that would have been in theaters on different platforms on your home television, some have now begun to transition to a more retro way of getting your movie night fix: Drive-in movie theaters.
Many drive-ins across the Sound have opened and generated good business despite the current situation. Providing the ability to gather a lot of people in one place without making physical contact with any of them, drive-ins have a clear advantage over indoor movie theaters. Not only this, but another possible advantage is that some drive-ins let you bring your own snacks — meaning you don’t have to pay $12 for popcorn that you’ll probably finish before the movie even starts.
What does this mean for indoor theaters now? Some are wanting to reopen and start showing films again. By the state guidelines, they are technically allowed to do so, but only if they can efficiently clean each theater after every use, keep patrons spaced apart and take extra precautions to ensure they don’t become the location of a super spreading event. Some of these precautions would include taking temperatures or providing hand sanitizer.
Even if indoor theaters are able to achieve all of this, people may still be wary about attending indoor films due to the length of time they would be breathing the same air as others. The question is: will indoor movie theaters be able to bounce back from this pandemic?
Current guidelines for indoor theaters, as stated on the CinemaSafe website, are as follows: masks are required to be worn at all times, physical distancing must be maintained, capacity must be reduced, HVAC systems must be working properly to achieve maximum air filtration, employees should be trained on proper hand-washing practices, cleaning must be enhanced and concessions must be modified. These are only some of the many new practices indoor theaters will need to employ in order to safely reopen.
Many theaters are taking their time to reopen and train employees, but in the meantime, drive-ins like Rodeo Drive-In Theater in Bremerton are still showing films throughout the rest of September.
For more information about how indoor theaters plan to keep you safe, visit https://www.cinemasafe.org/#guidelines.