Let’s assume for a moment that Tenet will finally open as scheduled over Labor Day weekend. If that’s the case, then the question for people will become “Where can I see it?” and maybe even more importantly “What are the rules and regulations governing my safety where I can see it?” Some theater chains are already open again in parts of the country, and others have announced openings in the coming weeks, each with their own sets of rules.

Regal Cinemas now says it will open its multiplexes on August 21, two weeks before Tenet’s supposed debut. And they have unveiled a full page of “New Safety and Health Procedures” on their website — which includes innovations like new contactless payment and cleaning every seat and auditorium after each movie with “ULV foggers.” Employees will undergo daily health screenings and temperature checks, wash their hands regularly, and must wear masks.

The mask requirement extends to guests “in the lobby, hallways, and restrooms” — but not in the actual theaters themselves, where Regal’s site says they “can remove them inside the auditorium while eating and drinking.” (Regal’s concessions stands will be open, with a reduced menu and every other register closed to ensure social distancing.) If you believe masks help reduce the spread of coronavirus, particularly when spending extended periods of time indoors, Regal may not be the spot for you.

These are the additional safety rules listed for Regal’s auditoriums:

  • Where required by state or county mandate, auditorium capacities will be reduced to 50%.
  • Our reservation system will maintain two empty seats between groups (1 seat at recliner locations) to maintain proper social distancing throughout the movie.
  • At theatres where performances are non-reserved, you will be requested to leave two seats between groups.
  • Group sizes will only be limited where required by a state or county mandate.

Unless I’m reading that incorrectly, that means that if your local government doesn’t require Regal to cap ticket sales to ensure audiences can socially distance in their auditoriums, they’re not going to do it beyond leaving empty seats between different groups of guests. That could be good news for studios hoping to pack early screenings of their upcoming blockbusters like Tenet. That might not be such good news for move lovers hoping not to expose themselves to a potentially fatal disease.

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