Oklahoma Movie Theater Plans to Reopen With Safety Precautions

As many people hope to return to a sense of normalcy once the coronavirus curve has been flattened, an Oklahoma movie theater is taking extra safety precautions to ensure guests' safety when going to the movies.

Tulsa's Circle Cinema is planning for a late May/early June re-opening, but is taking additional measures so that guests don't need to come into contact with anyone or anything as they sit in their seats.

Following Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt's plans to start reopening local businesses come May 1, Circle Cinema made major adjustments in the interest of safety, according to Variety. Besides only planning on allowing about half capacity for showings, owner Clark Wiens also explained other changes that he planned for the theater. He also said that staff were also excited about returning to work, despite some concerns about their health.

"We want to find all we can so you would not have to have physical contact with anything in the theater, beside setting your posterior in the seat," Wiens told Variety.

Seating will be spaced and employees will clean each seat after each show. Screens will be protected with plexiglass, and employees will be required to wear masks and gloves. The changes to theater snack protocol include using paper salt packets rather than a dispenser and a no-touch butter dispenser.

The theater plans to reopen with a Sony Pictures Classics film, but Wiens also expressed that reopening may be difficult, due to COVID-19 anxiety. "At what point do you as an individual feel relaxed going to a movie theater?" he said.

While Circle Cinema may resume operations by May or June, AMC Theatres announced that the chain may not jump to reopening as soon as shelter-in-place restrictions until new releases are ready to hit screens, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "As we plan our reopening, the health and safety of our guests and associates is our absolute highest priority. To be able to open, we also need a line of sight into a regular schedule of new theatrical blockbusters that get people truly excited about returning to their favorite movie theaters," AMC said in a statement.

The next major studio films are Christopher Nolan's Tenet from Warner Brothers and Disney's Mulan. "While we expect to open our theaters in the weeks ahead of these new blockbusters, utilizing creative programming of immensely popular previously released films, we would be wise to do so only directly in advance of the release of major new movie titles," said AMC.

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