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Are AMC Theaters' safety procedures enough to entice and protect moviegoers?

AMC is rolling out Phase One of its reopening starting with 100 theaters across the country, including five in Tampa Bay.

TAMPA, Fla. — Some AMC movie theaters are officially open again after being closed the past six months due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

AMC Theatres started Phase One of its reopening process by opening 100 theaters across the county including five in Tampa Bay. 

Those five locations include AMC Veterans Expressway 24, AMC Regency 20, AMC Woodlands Square 20, AMC Westshore Plaza 14 and AMC Highwoods 20.

As part of the first day of re-opening, AMC offered 15 cent tickets, and all showings at the theaters 10 Tampa Bay visited for this story sold out fast. 

The biggest safety changes you'll now see in theaters include lower seating capacity and only allowing up to 30-percent of theaters to be filled. Available seats will be socially distanced from each other as well.

Enhanced cleaning procedures include disinfecting high touch areas and entire theaters in between shows. AMC has also upgraded the air filtration including using "MERV 13 filters" wherever possible. 

"Checkerboard seating is very important and controlling who goes where, when," Public Health policy expert Dr. Jay Wolfson said. 

But Wolfson says the most important safety feature for indoor areas is the air filtration systems.

"Every day the HVAC systems need to be checked to make sure the filters are cleaned and that the air funneling is moving in the right direction and not to the next person," Wolfson said. "Training staff to know how to check these systems properly is important."

With an effective HVAC system and a trained staff that knows how to uphold these new cleaning and safety changes, he has faith in the safety of AMC's plan. 

"They're a large company and they are responsible. They will make sure their staff is really well trained from everyone who sells tickets to the people who sweep the floors. But not only do they need to follow the rules, moviegoers need to be responsible too," Wolfson said.

Moviegoers can expect some other changes when they step foot inside an AMC theater, like being required to wear a mask and contactless ticketing, as much as possible. Staff will also be required to wear a mask and will get daily temperature checks.

As for what films they are playing right now, those include Unhinged, Cut Throat City, Words on Bathroom Walls, Inception, The New Mutants and more. 

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