San Antonio-based Santikos Entertainment, in partnership with the nonprofit group Community Labs, will be conducting weekly tests of all theater employees.
“Since the first presence of Covid in our community, our number one priority has been to ensure the safety and care of our employees,” says Santikos CEO Tim Handren in a statement. “As the only theater in the world administering weekly PCR tests, we are ensuring our employees the safest work environment and our guests the best experience.”
Adds J. Bruce Bugg Jr., Vice Chairman and Co-Founder of Community Labs and chairman and trustee of the Tobin Endowment: “It’s wonderful to have Santikos join this effort to provide assurance testing for its employees. The whole idea is to provide testing that quickly identifies people with Covid-19 but are asymptomatic, so that those individuals can quarantine themselves while giving everyone else the confidence and sense of safety to come to work and do their jobs. Our goal is to use this rapid testing system to help re-open San Antonio schools and businesses, and Santikos is helping lead the way.” Dr. Rachel Beddard, chief medical officer of BioBridge Global, continues: The ability to find asymptomatic carriers in a presumed healthy population is a critical element in the multi-faceted solution that is needed to address this pandemic. Using a PCR test, the FDA’s gold standard, and providing results within 24 hours makes it possible. “
Tests will be provided free of charge. In addition to providing testing, Santikos is following CinemaSafe health and sanitation guidelines, designed by NATO in cooperation with epidemiologists and followed by 3,100 theaters across 395 companies. CinemaSafe guidelines, available in more detail here, include social distancing, reduced capacity, required masks for employees and patrons (except when eating and as where exempted by the CDC), enhanced cleaning, increased ventilation where possible, and more.
Says Santikos CEO Handren: “We believe one of the best benefits we can provide our employees is this asymptomatic testing, free of charge, in addition to our current safety and health protocols at all Santikos locations. This is just one more example of our culture of caring at Santikos.”