We’re all excited for life to get back to normal, or at least some semblance of normal, and that includes doing the things we love like returning to the movies (obvi). But, we also want to make sure that we’re staying safe and acting responsibly to help keep others safe. That’s why many movie theater chains have rolled out comprehensive safety and cleaning initiatives as they reopen their doors.  

During the 3-month moviegoing intermission, theaters were busy behind the scenes coming up with new seating policies, cleaning procedures, concessions plans and training their staff so guests can feel confident and comfortable returning to the movies. At Atom, we’ve been working closely with the theaters to make sure that the seat maps you see in the app and on our website accurately reflect the reduced capacity and social distancing updates to make sure your seat selection process is as smooth as popcorn butter.  

Every theater has slightly different policies, but by and large the big themes are lots of cleaning, spaced-out seating, reduced capacity, and the use of masks (whether required or encouraged). We’ve listed out some popular theater chains that have announced their safety measures and included links to their specific policies to make it easy for you to access. Keep in mind that policies may change as time goes on, so it’s always best to check with your local theater to get their most up-to-date guidelines.

Update: CinemaSafe

On August 21, the National Association of Theatre Owners unveiled the CinemaSafe program – a nationwide set of guidelines for movie theaters. The voluntary guidelines include a mask mandate for employees and guests. The program is based on Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines and was developed with input from epidemiologists and an infectious disease specialist. In addition to the mask requirement, CinemaSafe protocols also include reduced capacity, staggered seating, mobile ticketing, enhanced cleaning, employee training and increased air ventilation. Theaters that opt in to CinemaSafe may display the badge and guidelines on their respective websites.

AMC Theatres 

AMC expects to begin reopening theaters Aug. 20. They are implementing their AMC Safe & Clean initiative that includes reduced auditorium capacity, enhanced cleaning procedures, daily health checks for employees and a simplified concessions menu. They are requiring masks to be worn by both employees and guests.  

B&B Theatres

Many B&B locations have reopened and they have a brief rundown of what to expect at your next visit. Showtimes are staggered to give staff time to clean the auditorium and sanitize occupied seats. Social distancing signs have also been placed throughout the theaters and employees are required to take their temperature before they begin their shift. Masks are required for employees and encouraged for guests.  

Bow Tie Cinemas

Their Safe Cinema at Bow Tie page lays out their policies which include 50% max capacity for each auditorium. All showtimes will have reserved seating (with waived fees!) and buffer seats will be in place for social distancing. They’ll have a staff member dedicated to cleaning throughout the theater plus enhanced cleanings between showtimes. Employees will be wearing masks and guests are encouraged to do so.  


Cinemark has begun opening theaters in a phased approach and have dubbed their safety measures The Cinemark Standard. They will be limiting capacity in auditoriums, sanitizing high-touch areas and restrooms every 30 minutes, sanitizing seats and auditoriums between each showtime and conducting daily wellness check-ins for employees. Masks are required for employees and guests. 

Landmark Cinemas Canada 

Landmark will have a dedicated Hygiene Officer during each shift who will oversee cleaning procedures and make sure they’re up to their high standards. Auditorium capacity will be reduced and seats can only be reserved in pairs with every other pair and every other row blocked off to allow for physical distancing. Crew members will be directing guests in and out of auditoriums to maintain adequate distance between parties. Employees will be required to wear masks and guests are encouraged to do so. 

Malco Theatres

Malco Theatres’ Safety Protocols include enhanced cleaning and social distancing throughout the theater and auditoriums, with every other row being blocked off. Guests and employees are both required to wear masks and do temperature checks before entering the theater.  


The Utah theater chain has adopted Utah’s Cinema Promise in collaboration with elected officials and health experts as part of their new safety policies. This includes employee wellness checks, hand sanitizing stations, reduced auditorium capacity and buffer seats between parties. Masks are required for employees at all locations. Masks are required for guests at select locations and encouraged at others. 


NCG’s phased reopening plans include standard safety procedures like hand washing and disinfecting high-contact surfaces plus social distancing and reduced auditorium capacity. Seats, armrests and cupholders will be sanitized between each showtime. Employees are required to wear masks and guests are encouraged to do so.  

Showcase Cinemas 

Stay Showcase Safe with extensive cleaning procedures, covered concessions offerings, reduced auditorium capacity and employee health checks. Employees are required to wear masks and guests are required to wear masks until they are in their seats.  

Studio Movie Grill 

The dinner and a movie chain has laid out safer ways to enjoy the show that include sanitizing high-contact surfaces every 30 minutes, reduced auditorium capacity, spaced seating and enhanced cleaning between showtimes. Team members have been trained in proper food-handling protocols to reduce person-to-person contact and are required to wear masks (and gloves if handling food). Guests are encouraged to wear masks unless eating or drinking.  

Know Before You Go

Again, keep in mind that theaters may change their policies anytime. Be sure to check your local theater’s website for the most up-to-date info before you get to the movies. Enjoy the show!

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