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  • Writer's pictureSeth Greenberg

Should Movie Theaters Reopen?

As An AMC Theater Employee Effected By The Current Pandemic, I Wanted To Voice My Viewpoint On The Reopening Of Movie Theaters:

For the past 6 months, COVID-19 has only grown, regarding the number of infected people, deaths, and its overall effectiveness. COVID-19 is a novel virus, and scientists are discovering new things about it on a daily basis. As the clock ticks, the need for developing a readily available vaccine grows. Still, people throughout the United States are underestimating the situation; many people are going out with friends, disregarding social distancing, and calling for the reopening of non-essential businesses. These acts bring up the real question of the current pandemic; is the health of millions of Americans less or more important than the stability and growth of the United States economy?

Although almost all non-essential businesses are economically suffering from the pandemic, one multi-billion dollar business (market size is estimated to be $19+ Billion) in particular seems to be on the brink of bankruptcy... the distribution of movies. Movie theaters empires such as AMC, Cinemark, and Regal have been closed for over two months now. As a result of this, I have been without pay as well as the enjoyment of the company of my coworkers. This is effecting roughly 164,622 people employed at movie theaters. Although I am luckily not dependent on the income from my job, others around the United States are. This is one of the main reasons that contradicts my stance on reopening movie theaters. If 10,000 people losing their job is horrible, what word describes 164,622 people becoming unemployed.

Based on my experience as an AMC Crew Member, cleanliness throughout the theater as well as the safety of guests is deemed the highest responsibility. Knowing this though, providing entertainment by sitting for hours end in a room with 1-2 exits packed with people already puts AMC employees at a disadvantage. My experience cleaning screening rooms was always stressful. A majority of the time ushers (employees cleaning screening rooms) had between 3-10 minutes to clean a theater from the front to back rows. At times, I had to clean an entire screening room by myself due to multiple movies ending at the same time. In addition to this, a majority guests rarely throw their trash away and instead push their popcorn and soda under their seat. This usually makes a mess due to spills. If things could not get worse, ushers have impatient guests walking into a screening room while it is being cleaned, adding more unnecessary pressure. As you might know, pressure like that described above results in the notorious dirty movie theater. This is just one of the many problems movie theaters would have to fix to have a successful and SAFE reopening.

As an avid movie watcher, I badly want movie theaters to reopen. I just feel like sitting in the same seat a stranger sat in 15 minutes earlier is simply not a good idea. In addition to this, I believe movie theaters will not sell hot foods (pizzas, hot dogs, etc.) or most people will not purchase hot foods. Concessions is a majority of movie theater's revenue, and a decline in the sale of food could result in more loss than revenue.

**Although I love movies, I believe that reopening movie theaters is the wrong decision at the moment!!

-Seth Greenberg

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