Two theater chains in Texas are the first to do the last thing I’d want to be doing during a global pandemic. I’ve seen Outbreak, thank you very much. According to Variety, EVO Entertainment and Santiko Entertainment have reopened several of their locations to the movie-going public after the governor of Texas gave the all-clear for theaters to reopen at 25% capacity as of last Friday. In addition to reduced capacity, a number of other “safety” measures have been implemented, including “airport security-style” procedures such as temperature checks, and presumably, making sure no guest brings in more than 3 oz of fluid in their lungs. Hardly seems worth the risk until you realize this may be your one and only chance to see Trolls World Tour on the big screen (even though it’s already available streaming). You know the saying, “give me liberty or give me and my entire family COVID-19.” Yes, Trolls is that good.
A handful of movie theaters in San Antonio and Austin, Texas, are set to reopen in the coming days, providing an early test case for coronavirus protection measures.
EVO Entertainment plans to open two theaters on Monday using “airport security-style check-in,” says CEO Mitchell Roberts. Guests will enter a cordoned area near the front door, where they will be asked if they are anyone in their household have had flu symptoms in the last 14 days. They will also be subjected to an infrared temperature screening, with anyone over 100.4 degrees turned away.
So, it’s like flying wherein you have to go through the hassle of the security line on your way to being trapped in a small space with questionable people and pay exorbitant prices for snacks while watching second-run movies, only at the end, you walk out and you’re still in Texas? Hard pass. Tim Handren, the CEO of Satikos, says “we’re operating more for psychological value than net income,” and insists “it’s gonna be incredibly, incredibly safe.” Phew! Realistically, you probably have a higher chance of getting shot than contracting coronavirus.
“We’re going to be a finely tuned machine with all the protocols that are required.”
Both EVO and Santikos are charging discounted prices — $5 a ticket ($3 for children at EVO.) They have each reconfigured their food service to reduce touch-points, and eliminated cash transactions. Staff will wear masks and gloves. The theaters will have spaced seating, with every other row empty and groups seated at least six feet apart.
At EVO, customers will be required to wear masks, while at the Santikos theaters, it’s only encouraged.
“If we see bad actors, we’re going to remind them what social distancing means,” Handren says. “If we feel like it’s a problem, we’ll require it.”
Oh, come now. They’re playing Bloodshot starring Vin Diesel. Of course they’re going to see bad actors! Besides, it’s one thing to have families going together and sitting away from other groups. You know that’s not how it’s going down. Families are fucking over spending quality time together. It’s going to be groups of teenagers desperate to get away from their parents sitting together, bringing new cooties home. So, same as before, only this time, the cooties are deadly and there are no more free refills on popcorn.