SPRINGFIELD — Limits included in Phase 4 of Restore Illinois will hurt movie theaters, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) of Illinois.

Phase 4 of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s plan allows for movie theatres to reopen Friday with a maximum capacity of 50 people.

“While theatres across Illinois are excited to welcome customers back to the movies, the strict capacity limits announced by the governor’s office will make it difficult for many theatres to reopen,” said said Chris Johnson, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners of Illinois and CEO of Classic Cinemas.

“For some, it will simply not be feasible to rehire workers, purchase supplies and cover overhead costs if only 50 customers will be allowed in each auditorium,” Johnson said. “Many theatre auditoriums are quite large and can safely accommodate more viewers while maintaining proper physical distancing and sanitation measures.

“We are disappointed the governor’s office declined to raise capacity limits after indicating a willingness to do so during recent conversations but remain hopeful that changes can be made sooner rather than later,” Johnson said. “We are eager to salvage what’s left of the summer blockbuster season and reclaim our role as a safe space to escape from life’s struggles.”

NATO has proposed setting attendance limits at 50 percent of capacity, the same limits set for retail establishments and personal care businesses. Additional safety measures include:

• Requiring all employees to undergo training before returning to work on enhanced cleaning procedures, personal health and wellness, use of face masks and gloves, and maintaining social distancing.

• Taking employee temperatures before reporting to work for each shift.


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