EVO Entertainment CEO Mitchell Roberts told the media that he decided to reopen his chain of movie theaters using similar screening methods as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in order to earn back the confidence of his customer base, even though Texas Governor Greg Abbott is not requiring this.
Reports indicate that all EVO movie theaters throughout the Lone Star State will require that guests enter through a special cordoned area where they will be asked by employees whether anyone in their households has had flu symptoms in the past two weeks. Guests will also be subject to an infrared temperature screening, and anyone who clocks in at 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be told to leave the premises.
Gov. Abbott's executive order, on the other hand, which he signed on April 28, encourages businesses to merely follow the "minimum standard health protocols" recommended by the state's health department. These include so-called "social distancing" as well as "appropriate face coverings," though "no jurisdiction can impose a civil or criminal penalty for failure to wear a face covering," it clearly adds.
As for movie theaters like those owned by EVO, the only other requirement is that they "operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of any individual theater for any screening." If Texas sees at least two weeks of data showing no additional Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) flare-ups, then capacity will be increased to 50 percent.
However, nothing is stated in the EO about airport-style security protocols, which EVO appears to be implementing of its own volition. It remains to be seen whether EVO customers will agree to comply with these draconian measures or simply stay home until they are lifted.
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It could be that none of this really matters anyway seeing as how a Kickstand Communications poll found that most Texans are not exactly keen on going to the movies anytime soon.
A mere 10 percent of Austin residents indicated that they plan to immediately return to movie theaters and malls, while just over 60 percent stated they would probably go back within the month. Similarly, only about 15 percent are willing to immediately return to retails stores, while 87 percent said they plan to get back to shopping later in May.
"We do not take these responsibilities lightly," added the CEO of Santikos Entertainment, a San Antonio-based movie theater chain that is also implementing airport-style security measures that are similar to those being put in place by EVO.
"We have been working diligently on safety protocols that will make Santikos a model, not just for theaters but for all businesses on how to open responsibly."
Santikos is asking all moviegoers if they have been in contact with anyone over the past two weeks who showed symptoms potentially indicative of infection with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
"If yes, you will not be allowed in the theater and we will reimburse you your ticket," the company's new guidelines state.
More of the latest news about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is available at Pandemic.news.
Sources for this article include: