As Texas movie theaters consider whether to re-open May 1 alongside restaurants and other businesses given the green light by Governor Greg Abbott, Santikos movie theatres have announced that they will be opening their three largest theatres starting Saturday, May 2nd.
CEO of Sankitos Entertainment Tim Handren explains, “I think we’re doing everything that’s really responsible for opening up right now. I don’t think we’re opening too soon. I think we’re opening at just the right time so that people have a way to get out of their house and do something of entertainment value.”
Santikos is opening the doors to the Palladium, Cibolo, and Casa Blanca, making them the first movie theatre to open in San Antonio. Handren explained that they picked the three largest theatres because it will make social distancing more possible.
“We want to be safe. We don’t want to be cavalier about this,” Handren stresses, “We want to be safe. We don’t want to be cavalier about this. We really care about our employees’ safety and our guests’ safety.”
Each auditorium will only have three showtimes a day. This will allow the theatre staff to clean thoroughly between each screening. allowing theater staff enough time to thoroughly clean after screenings.
“The governor’s asked us to do every other row and then space two seats in between,” Handren added. “The rows are already six feet apart, so you’ll be twelve feet apart front to back. So we’re going to be exceeding what the governor has asked us to do.”
All staff will wear personal protective equipment. Those self-serve soda stations will be closed, and alternating sinks will be blocked off in the bathrooms.
Santikos has decided to open back up for customers, however many other movie theatre chains have been more hesitant. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema took to social media to announce that “We will not be opening our Texas theaters this weekend. Opening safely is a very complex project that involves countless new procedures and equipment, all of which require extensive training. This is something we cannot and will not do casually or quickly.”
Regal Cinemas also has yet to decide when they will open. Regal Cinemas Vice President of Communications Richard Grover wrote in an email “In order to open our theatres, at first we will need to ensure the safety of our guests and employees. At the same time, we are working closely with our studio partners on when they will make their movies available. We will continue to work with both authorities and the studios in order to host our audiences and show them the big blockbusters in a safe environment.”
Santikos closed all nine of its San Antonio locations March 16 and furloughed about 700 employees April 2.