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Alamo Drafthouse Promises Movie Theaters Will Be ‘Safer Than a Supermarket’ Upon Reopening

Alamo Drafthouse
Courtesy Alamo Drafthouse

Alamo Drafthouse unveiled plans to reopen its movie theaters during coronavirus, pledging that its venues will be “safer than a supermarket.”

Those steps include dramatically increasing physical-distancing measures, implementing enhanced cleaning protocols and temporarily altering its service model. Alamo Drafthouse has perhaps a greater challenge than its rivals, such as AMC, Regal or Cinemark, because the specialty chain is known for its in-theater dining, a wide craft beer selection and themed events. That’s much more difficult when you’re wearing a face mask.

To that point, guests will be required to wear masks at all times, except when eating and drinking. They will provide free masks to anyone who doesn’t have one on hand. Likewise, employees will be required to wear masks. Workers will also wear gloves at all times and will regularly wash their hands at least every 30 minutes.

“We’re revising and reimagining how we do things, and how you experience Alamo Drafthouse,” CEO Tim League said in a statement. “That’s no small task — it means flexing a model we’ve refined for over twenty years — and we know we’ll need to stay nimble as we learn new and better methods, continuously gather feedback from our guests, and as the battle against COVID-19 continues.”

When Alamo Drafthouse resumes operation, all ticketing will be handled online. When patrons buy tickets, there will be at least two buffer seats in between that will provide a minimum of six feet of physical distancing between groups. Each auditorium, including tables and chairs, will be sanitized between screenings with an electrostatic fogger and disinfectant. Hand sanitizing wipes will be available at each table to use.

In addition to masks and gloves, team members will have their temperatures checked daily prior to starting work. As needed, guests will have their temperatures taken before entering the theater.

Alamo Drafthouse operates 41 operations across the country, in 10 states. They plan to start reopening select venues in early July to test new procedures before restarting venues in the remaining regions.

“We want you to feel safe. Our driving principle has been to make the Alamo Drafthouse experience one of the safest possible indoor activities — ‘safer than a supermarket’ — and far exceed the expectations you already have for supermarkets, gyms, and restaurants,” League said. “We intend to make it so that you can leave your car, make it to your seat, enjoy your food and drinks, and be able to leave having never come within six feet of another person other than when your order is delivered, and having never touched a surface other than your chair and table — both of which will be sanitized between screenings with an electrostatic fogger and disinfectant.”

As states move further along in the reopening process, Alamo Drafthouse anticipates that it will be able to carefully scale back such limitations and eventually begin operating like normal.

“We’re looking forward to getting back to what we love to do — bringing you the best of film, food, and drink,” he said. “This next phase will be different from what we’re all used to. It won’t always be ideal. But if we all continue to do our part, it won’t be forever.”