Jacksonville movie theaters remain open, increase cleanings as coronavirus fears proliferate

Showtimes are being staggered to prevent large crowds of people from being in the building at one time.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – AS COVID-19 infections continue to pop up in Northeast Florida, causing events to be canceled or postponed, it’s not forcing movie theaters to close their doors just yet.

Leighann Rassler, Marketing Director for the New Vision Theater in Fleming Island, said theater employees were already doing their part to clean and sanitize the bathrooms, the concession areas of high foot traffic but as coronavirus has spread across the state, the theater has increased the frequency of those cleanings.

“We have our ushers checking the auditoriums and wiping down things as needed,” Rassler said.

San Marco Theatre employees are taking similar precautions, wiping down all the seats with sanitation wipes before moviegoers sit down in addition to their regular cleanings.

The theaters, like so many others across our area, are doing what’s necessary to keep moviegoers safe from COVID-19.

Touch screens that moviegoers use to pick out their seats and pay for tickets are also now receiving an enormous amount of attention.

“We’re either doing it for them or wiping it down, so they are taking extra precautions in the concession area since they are handling food, beverage and the touchpoints for transitions," Rassler said.

The theater is also making sure moviegoers know about their extra efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to keep them at ease.

“It makes me feel comfortable. I walked in and was amazed at how many precautions they took,” said moviegoer Tan Nguyen.

Showtimes are being staggered to prevent large crowds of people from being in the building at one time. And the largest theater only seats 140 people.

“So, we’re below that threshold that people are talking about, the group gatherings," Rassler said.

At Regal Cinemas in Jacksonville, moviegoers were showing up in droves.

Regal Cinemas issued a statement that reads in part: “As the situation surrounding the Coronavirus continues to evolve, we are prepared to respond and ensure that we are monitoring and following guidance from the CDC and other health officials.”

Meanwhile, here at the Florida Theater downtown, the situation is much different. All shows have been either canceled or postponed until further notice.

Movie theaters across the country are asking people who are sick to stay at home. That same message applies to movie theater employees.

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