Georgia Governor to Allow Theaters to Reopen as of Monday, April 27

In a press conference delivered today, April 20th, Georgia governor Brian Kemp announced that certain types of businesses in Georgia will be allowed to open in the coming days. Among those are theaters, which per Kemp’s plan will be able to reopen their doors next Monday, April 27.

Kemp’s decision to allow theaters to reopen—along with other businesses, such as gyms, nail salons, and massage parlors, which can open up as soon as this Friday—comes in response to the federal government’s three-phase plan to reopen the U.S. economy.

The reopened businesses, Kemp clarified, “are not opening business as usual.” Theaters, private social clubs, and restaurant dine-in services will be able to open on April 27 if they adhere to “specific social distancing and sanitation mandates,” specifics of which have not yet been provided. The first wave of businesses allowed to reopen on Friday must adhere to social distancing guidelines, regular sanitation procedures, and “minimum basic operations,” including “screening workers for fever and respiratory illness, enhancing workplace sanitation, wearing gloves and masks if appropriate, separating workspaces by at least 6 feet, … teleworking where at all possible, and implementing staggered shifts.”

What exactly this means for movie theaters—for example, if attendees per audience will be capped at a particular number, and what sanitation guidelines they will have to adhere to—remains unclear. Another issue, and one outside Governor Kemp’s purview, is a lack of content, with all new tentpole releases until the July 17 bow of Warner Bros.’ Tenet having been pushed down the schedule.

Georgia’ shelter in place order remains in effect until 11:59PM on April the 30th; Kemp still urges his constituents to continue to “[shelter] in place as often as you can.”

“Local [government] action cannot be taken that is more or less restrictive” when it comes to administering or lifting bans on certain types of businesses being allowed to operate—though theaters that operate in Georgia have the option to not reopen their doors a week from today if they so choose.