Illinois Movie Theater Owners; Lobbying for Larger Audiences

Illinois Movie Theater Owners; Lobbying for Larger Audiences

In Illinois’ movie theaters, more than 6,000 people work. For this reason, the National Association of Theatre Owners wants changes to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan. The Governor had laid out a five-phase reopening plan. The movie theaters won’t be able to reopen until Phase 4.

Phase 4 could begin on June 26 depending upon the COVID-19 trends. The governor has also capped out a 50-people gathering. The 50-person limit is unrealistic, says Chris Johnson, president of the Illinois chapter of the National Association of Theater Owners.

Johnson said, “As long as we can social distance, 6-feet between groups, let’s not have a hard number and let’s do it according to the auditorium size,” Johnson also said that the capacity in many theaters is already reduced by 60 percent due to the trend of replacing stadium seating with recliners. Adding a 50-person limit will be more difficult for theater operators.

The organization released a statement. They said the movie theatre business is vital for the economy. It supports thousands of jobs across the state and providing a major source of employment for teens. When the theaters do reopen, the moviegoers should expect a different look.

The National Association of Theatre Owners said that all the protocols and guidelines will be followed. Before each shift, employees’ temperature will be checked. They will be wearing masks and social distancing will be ensured.  According to Johnson, customers may have to watch reruns for a while as the major studios will be holding on to their blockbusters until theatres begin to fill up.

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