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There is ‘no scenario’ in which going to the movies is safe, expert says

Should you head to the movie theaters? You may want to rent it out for a private showing

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Posters for upcoming movies are displayed in an empty corridor at the currently closed AMC Burbank Town Center 8 movie theaters complex on April 29, 2020, in Burbank, Calif. AMC Entertainment lost billions during the pandemic.

Posters for upcoming movies are displayed in an empty corridor at the currently closed AMC Burbank Town Center 8 movie theaters complex on April 29, 2020, in Burbank, Calif.

Chris Pizzello, Invision via Associated Press

Movie theaters have begun to reopen across the country, and it’ll only continue as the country’s biggest chain — AMC Theatres — sets to reopen this week. But movie theaters might not be as safe as we think, even with social distancing guidelines.

What’s going on:

Dr. Anne W. Rimoin, professor of epidemiology and director of Center for Global And Immigrant Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, told AV Club this week that there is “no scenario” in which movie theaters are safe.

Short of renting out an entire theater, which is obviously not an option for most of us, there is no scenario in which going to a movie theater is a good idea. But going to see a movie in an indoor movie theater, it’s just about the last thing I would do right now.

Movie theaters had added some new guidelines and rules to keep people safe. But the entire idea of a movie theater puts people at risk,she said.

I mean, the people need to realize is that there really is no zero-risk scenario during this COVID pandemic. We’re advising people to not interact with others beyond their immediate family or home bubbles unless absolutely necessary, to limit gatherings of more than 10 people in any given space, and to avoid indoor areas. And you should definitely not be in an indoor area where you’d be taking your mask off, not even for eating. Movie theaters have all of that.

What’s happening locally

I spoke with Blake Andersen, Megaplex Theatres president, in a phone interview about how Megaplex Theatreshas been doing with its experiment of reopening with social distancing guidelines and updated cleaning policies.

He said there have been no reports back to the theaters about COVID-19 cases linked to the theaters.

  • “Absolutely none of that, which has just been just so wonderful and a testament to the job the team is doing, the sanitization procedures we’ve put in place.”