Movie Theaters

Movie Theaters' Plan to Reopen in Phase 4

Auditorium attendance would be limited to 50% of their seat capacity


Though movie theaters cannot open until phase four of Illinois' reopening plan, the industry released a plan Wednesday to safely welcome movie-goers through their doors.

Under the proposed plan by the National Association of Theater Owners, movie theaters could safely reopen if the following criteria is met:

  • Auditorium attendance is limited to 50% of their seat capacity
  • All employees undergo training on enhanced cleaning procedures; personal health and wellness; the use of face masks and gloves; and maintaining social distancing
  • Requiring cloth masks and gloves be worn during customer interactions
  • Maintaining six-foot distance between viewing parties
  • Placing six-foot spacing markers in areas where guests
  • Encouraging customers to purchase tickets online

Under Gov. J.B. Pritzker's plan, phase 4 could not begin until June 26 at the earliest. But movie theaters are pushing to not delay their opening date.

The governor plans to limit the number of people per auditorium to 50 viewers, but NATO said the standard is an arbitrary limit given the variety of auditorium sizes.

"It is important Illinois theaters be allowed to safely reopen right away so workers can return to their jobs, and the movie industry at large can move forward with major film releases," President of NATO and CEO of Classic Cinemas Chris Johnson said. "Our proposal balances the protection of employees and guests with the need to restart our economy."

NATO of Illinois represents over 1,200 theaters across the state.

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