First, movie theater chains like AMC, Cineplex, and Alamo Drafthouse announced new seating plans, blocking off series of seats to help enable the practice of social distancing. But now, as the situation regarding the coronavirus keeps changing, so too must movie theater practices. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Regal Cinemas has announced they’re shutting down all of their locations indefinitely.
Here’s the official statement from Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Regal Cinemas’ parent company Cineworld:
Any time, at any Regal, it’s our goal to provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees and guests. At this time, we have made the difficult decision to close our theaters. We value our movie-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving them again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters.
There are 543 Regal theaters in the US, all of which will be shutting down starting Tuesday, March 17. Regal is the first US chain to make such a nationwide announcement, but I’d guess it’s likely other chains will follow suit soon. Currently, AMC Theatres has a policy enforcing less than 50 people per screening — but given recent US government and CDC advisories to limit social interactions to less than 10 people, I’d hope they’ll follow suit soon enough. It will be strange and sad to not be able to visit the cinema during these times, but the sooner we all hunker down and do what we need to do, the sooner we’ll get that privilege back.