AMC CEO Adam Aron Discusses Reopening Plans
AMC has announced their plans for reopening its theatres in the U.S. The chain plans on opening 450 locations on July 15 and the approximately 150 remaining locations in time for two major July theatrical releases - Mulan on July 24 and Tenet on July 30.
Opening will occur over 4 phases. Phase 1 will have 30% seating capacity and will have every other row blocked out in theatres that do not have recliner seating. Phase 2 will raise capacity to 40%, Phase 3 will raise capacity to 50%, and by Phase 4, 100% capacity. They are hoping that this will be the case by November, just in time for the release of "No Time to Die" and Disney's "Soul". AMC has also adopted new cleaning protocols but will not be requiring temperature checks.
Below are some of those protocols:
-Every auditorium will be cleaned between each showtime with enhanced hard surface disinfection including doors, handrails, recliner buttons, and tray tables. There will be extra time allocated between showtimes to allow a full, thorough cleaning of each auditorium.
-Auditorium fixtures and seating areas will be disinfected nightly using electrostatic sprayers.
-All high-touch areas including door handles, stanchions, service counters, handrails, escalator rails, benches, and restroom fixtures will be routinely disinfected. Self-service Freestyle machines will be sanitized routinely, and sanitation stations with sanitizing wipes and/or hand sanitizer will be provided immediately nearby for guest use.
-Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be found throughout theatres for guests.
-Products used for sanitation and disinfection at AMC are EPA approved for use against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens including COVID-19.
-Employees will be required to wear masks and have their temperatures checked prior to their shift. If they're found sick, they'll be compensated.
-FDA approved hand-sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the theatre for associate and guest use.
-AMC will abide by local ordinances enforcing the wearing of masks. Guests at other locations are strongly encouraged to wear a mask during their visit to AMC. For guests who would like to purchase a mask upon arrival, they will be available for $1 at all locations.
-The circuit is recommending that guests use AMC's online ticketing and mobile app for ticketless entry. For guests who would like to purchase their tickets at the theatre, AMC has Automated Box Office machines.
AMC CEO Adam Aron told Deadline, "Temperature checks weren't going to be done widely across American industry. Our consultants from the Harvard School of Public advised that there are things that we can do that would be much more impactful, and a much big determinant of guest safety than taking guest temperatures. In addition to our seat protocols and social distancing and our much-intensified cleaning protocols, we're really investing in high tech solutions. We've invested millions of dollars in electro-static sprayers which shoots electrically charged cleaning fluid on the seats, so it really binds to the seat material and kills viruses and bacteria with incredible reliability."
Aron also commented on the financial state of the company, saying that 2-4% of theatres wouldn't be reopened. "Even those theaters before the pandemic, had very little visitation, very little attendance. The AMC that you knew before the pandemic, that's the AMC you're going to see reopen starting on July 15," he said. This is on top of concerns that the chain would have to file for bankruptcy, even before COVID-19 hit, but Aron dismissed those notions.
"We've already said publicly that we have enough cash to last with every single theater worldwide shut through the end of November. When you don't have enough cash for your business for 12 full months, auditors and lawyers have correctly insisted that we alert investors to those risks. But, of course, we're already opening our theaters in Europe, and we're announcing today that our theaters will open in massive numbers in July. I said on that earnings call that in my heart of hearts, I expected AMC to make it through this crisis."