AMC isn’t shutting down due to the coronavirus, but it is helping the public maintain a distance from each other by limiting capacity in its theaters. According to a new report, AMC Theatres will start capping the number of people who can attend screenings so that they can have multiple empty spaces between them. The goal is to help facilitate ‘social distancing’ that’ll help curb the spread of the disease.
AMC is the first big movie theater company in the US to make a change based on the current outbreak. Deadline reports that starting Saturday, March 14, auditorium capacity will be reduced by at least 50-percent; this change will run through April 30 at the company’s theaters. The announcement follows a leak about the plans.
The decision isn’t surprising. A number of movie premieres that were scheduled to happen this month have been postponed indefinitely due to the outbreaks popping up in regions around the world. Theaters are an example of the kind of place most people are avoiding — cramped and full of large groups. The nature of a theater room makes it hard to avoid contact with strangers.
The new report claims based on industry sources that while the number of movies in theaters has dropped, the number of people attending them hasn’t. As a result, the report states, half of the crowd from one auditorium could be moved to another, reducing the number of people packed together while still allowing them to all watch the same movie.
Auditoriums that feature more than 500 seats will be limited to no more than 250 people, according to Deadline. The company has also working to keep everything clean by deploying hourly cleaning or more in areas that are frequently touched — doorknobs, restrooms, and similar spots.