If you live in Georgia and have been longing to sit in a darkened room with a big bucket of popcorn and a Cherry Coke, you can buy a bucket at Home Depot and go to town in the privacy of your own garage. Or, you can wait until next week, which is when the state’s governor has deemed it appropriate to reopen Georgia’s movie theaters.
Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday that gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys, massage therapy studios and tattoo parlors have been given the green light to open this Friday, while movie theaters and restaurants can reopen on Monday, April 27. “In the same way that we carefully closed businesses and urged operations to end to mitigate the virus’s spread, today we’re announcing plans to incrementally and safely reopen sectors of our economy,” he said.
Of course, as their canary state ventures back into the coronavirus coal mine, Georgia movie theaters face a number of issues when it comes to reopening with such a tight turnaround. For one, owners of theaters and restaurants are still required to enforce social distancing guidelines, which include but are not limited to “screening workers for fever and respiratory illness, enhancing workplace sanitation, wearing masks & gloves if appropriate, separating workspaces by six feet, teleworking if possible & implementing staggered shifts.”
As Variety points out, chains like AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark have furloughed or laid off most of their employees. There’s also the issue of what movie-goers will be able to actually watch if they go to the theater. Most studios have pushed back their new releases until June or later, with some even moving films to next spring. So…Trolls World Tour again, anyone?
According to CNN, “When pressed on the timing of his action, Kemp conceded that ‘we’re probably going to have to see our cases continue to go up,’” but said the state will address localized outbreaks with “further action” if needed. According to NBC News, Georgia has confirmed 18,947 cases of coronavirus; 733 of those patients have died.