Illinois movie theaters propose plan to Pritzker on reopening

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) of Illinois is submitting a plan to Gov. JB Pritzker that would allow movie theaters to reopen sooner than in Phase 4 of his Restore Illinois plan.

Under the governor’s plan, theaters cannot open until June 26th at the earliest, with a strict limit of 50 people per auditorium, something NATO says is an arbitrary number, since some theaters can hold 1,000 people.

The proposed plan would call for theaters to be allowed to reopen with 50 percent of their seating capacity, which NATO says is the standard proposed by the governor for restaurants and bars.

“Movie theatres have long served as a source of joy and an avenue of escape from everyday struggles, but they do much more by directly supporting thousands of jobs and generating tax revenue for towns across Illinois. It is important Illinois theaters be allowed to safely reopen right away so workers can return to their jobs, and the movie industry at large can move forward with major film releases. Our proposal balances the protection of employees and guests with the need to restart our economy,” said Chris Johnson, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners of Illinois and CEO of Classic Cinemas.

New safety measures outlined in the proposed reopening plan include:

  • Requiring all employees to undergo training before returning to work on enhanced cleaning procedures, personal health and wellness, use of face masks and gloves, and maintaining social distancing.
  • Taking employee temperatures before reporting to work for each shift.
  • Mandating that cloth masks be worn at all times and disposable gloves be worn during customer interactions.
  • Maintaining a minimum of six-foot distance between viewing parties, using empty seats and rows as necessary.
  • Placing six-foot spacing markings in areas where guests may have to queue and assigning staff to ensure social distancing is respected.
  • Encouraging customers to purchase tickets online to decrease contact opportunities.

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