Texas movie theaters are allowed to reopen at 25% capacity, but most Austin area cinemas are staying closed for now amid the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, a Kyle theater will become one of the first to start its projectors again.
Evo Entertainment has announced that its Kyle and Schertz locations will reopen May 4 after weeks of closure. The chain’s locations in San Marcos, New Braunfels and Fredericksburg will remain closed for now, according to a statement from Evo co-founder and CEO Mitch Roberts, which was posted to Evo’s website. The Kyle complex’s other recreation activities like arcade games will still be shut down, as well.
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Most major studio films were delayed when COVID-19 first started spreading in the U.S. Evo’s first showings after reopening include recently releases like "The Invisible Man" and "Sonic the Hedgehog," as well as classics like "The Goonies" and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone."
The company has made public a phased reopening plan for its theaters. The reopening of the Kyle theater is part of the company’s first phase toward starting up operations again. Safety measures listed on the Evo website include:
• Temperature readings for guests and staff
• Requests for customers to disclose any symptoms upon entry
• Required face coverings for both staff and customers, as well as required nitrile gloves for staff
• No cash accepted
• Adjustments to seating in the theaters, including "black-out" of alternating rows, automatic two-seat spacing between groups and a limit on five customers per group
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Evo, which also serves food, will take written orders after films start, according to the posted plan; menus, pencils and notepads will not be reused, the theater says. The theater also plans to enact additional safety measures for concessions. General safety standards listed under the plan include handwashing, physical distancing rules, protective equipment for Evo employees and regular sanitization of surfaces.
After Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s April 27 order paved the way for theaters to reopen, Alamo Drafthouse, Violet Crown Cinema and AFS Cinema all announced they would remain closed until they felt it was safer to welcome customers. Major chains with Central Texas locations that remain closed include AMC, Regal and Cinemark.