During the Golden Age of movies (30s, 40s), it was common for ushers and usherettes escorting groups to their seats like at a "reserved seating" event. Some cinemas already offer online reserved seating. Depending upon an individual cinema's manner of "social distancing," expect ushering to make a come back. 

WV Gov. Jim Juestic has cleared indoor theaters to reopen June 5, but with the shut down of production, some major chains have announced later dates coinciding with three summer tentpole releases: Tenant; Milan; Wonder Woman. 

Thus, a lack of new product will impact choices.

Judging from drive in reopenings, a mixture of first run, second run, flashbacks, art and classics may accompany the week's main feature. Anticipate the same feature on multiple screens to accommodate the required "50%" of maximum. 


The following guidelines are being published in advance of Governor
Justice’s Executive Order — currently anticipated to be effective as of June 5, 2020 —
that will allow for the opening of indoor movie theaters.

Note further: Such facilities should also consult the Guidance for West Virginia Small
Businesses, Guidance for Malls and Similar Facilities, and the Guide to Safely Opening
Restaurants and Bars, as applicable, available at governor.wv.gov, to determine other
best practices.



o Plan: Develop and implement appropriate policies, in accordance with federal, state, and local
regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices:

o Prepare the building for reopening;

o Prepare your employees for their return to work;

o Create a social distancing plan to manage and reduce excessive contact and interaction;

o Create a plan for personal protective equipment;

o Reduce touch points to the maximum extent possible;

o Increase cleaning frequency and the availability of hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and other
DIY cleaning products to ensure touch points and common elements are properly sanitized
between each use;

o Establish an open line of communication with employees regarding safety.

o Occupancy: Option 1: [Limit facility occupancy to a maximum of 50 percent of capacity as dictated
by seating capacity.] Option 2: [Limit facility occupancy to a maximum capacity that will allow for
proper social distancing to be achieved between patrons who do not reside together.]

o Social Distancing: Implement strict social distancing guidelines of at least six feet between all
individuals who do not reside together, modify scheduling to reduce unnecessary interactions to
the greatest extent possible, adjust layout and close or restrict seating to maintain at least six feet
of distance between customers (e.g., close every other row, use assigned seating, use an usher to
seat groups as they enter the theater and ensure proper distancing is maintained).

o Ticketing: Customers should be encouraged to purchase tickets in advance, by methods other than
cash if possible. Where customers do use ticket counters, such common surfaces and touchpoints
must be cleaned frequently.

o Customer Traffic: Clear paths should be designated to allow customers to enter and exit theaters
to access the restroom and to obtain food and/or beverage without breaking social-distancing

o PPE: Encourage all employees and patrons to wear appropriate personal protective equipment
(PPE), including appropriate face coverings to the greatest extent possible.

o Cleaning: Ensure that staffing and supplies available for such facilities are sufficient to enable
enhanced sanitization and cleaning measures in accordance with appropriate CDC guidelines.

o Common Elements and Touch points: All common touchpoints, point of sale equipment,
doorknobs, light switches, and buttons should be cleaned and sanitized between each use or touch.

o Limitations on Facilities: The following should remain closed or limited to the maximum extent

o Install physical barriers (for example, plexiglass shields) and visual cues (for example, tape on
the floors and walkways) and signs to ensure that staff and patrons stay at least six feet apart
from those they don’t reside with.

o Any food service should be run in accordance with current orders and guidelines for restaurants
and/or bars, found at governor.wv.gov.

o Restroom facilities should limit the number of users at any one time based on the facility size
and current social distancing guidelines and such facilities should be regularly cleaned/sanitized
per CDC recommended protocols.

o Water fountains, common areas, break rooms, ticket counters, and other areas in which patrons
or employees may congregate should be limited to the greatest extent possible, and where such
are not closed off, must be cleaned/sanitized frequently.


Payments: Encourage customers to make non-cash payments.
o Plan: Plan for potential COVID-19 cases and work with local health department officials when
needed (i.e., monitor and trace COVID-19 cases, deep-clean facilities).
o Signage: Post extensive signage on health policies, including the following documents in the
workplace to help educate all on COVID-19 best practices:
o CDC: Stop the Spread of Germs
o CDC: COVID-19 Symptoms


o Customer screening: Screen patrons for illness prior to entry:
o Temperature checks
o Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
o Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
o Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
o Have you had new loss of taste or smell?
o Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?
o PPE: All patrons should be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment at all times,
including appropriate facial coverings to the greatest extent possible.
o Ventilation: Keep doors and windows open where possible to improve ventilation.
o Signage: Post signs encouraging social distancing of at least six feet between individuals.
o Cleaning: Consider providing disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer at common touch point
locations, including customer’s seat location, and request that patrons assist by cleaning/sanitizing
any touchpoints or common surfaces they come in contact with, in addition to the frequent and
regular cleaning to be done by employees.




o Employee screening: Screen all employees reporting to work for COVID-19 symptoms.
o Temperature checks.
o Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
o Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
o Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
o Have you had new loss of taste or smell?
o Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?
o PPE: All staff should be encouraged to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including
face coverings to the maximum extent possible.
o Training: Provide training on PPE based on CDC guidelines.
o Personal cleaning: Provide a sanitizing station with soap and/or bottle of hand sanitizer and require
regular hand washing.
o Customer contact: Limit customer contact to the greatest extent possible and require proper
cleaning and sanitization between any necessary customer contact.
o Distancing: Practice recommended social distancing to the greatest extent possible.