CineMark, Regal to begin reopening movie theaters in the US

Both movie theater chains expect to reopen most locations in July.

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A CineMark theater in Cincinnati that closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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CineMark and Regal this week both announced plans to reopen movie theaters in the US following closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Regal plans to reopen theaters starting July 10, while CineMark is set to open some theaters this Friday and expects to have all its US locations open by July 17.

CineMark and Regal, two of the largest theater chains in the US, will both have new safety and cleaning measures in place. 

Regal, owned by Cineworld Group, said social distancing measures will be in place, including reduced capacity in auditoriums where mandated by county or state. Moviegoers will also be required to leave empty seats between groups, and things like refills on large sodas and popcorn are suspended for now. Employees and guests may also need to wear face masks if required by local officials. 

CineMark outlined similar guidelines for customers and said showtimes will be staggered to maximize physical distancing. The company also said it plans to sanitize all public and high-touch spaces every 30 minutes, and that each location will have a designated "Chief Clean and Safety Monitor" on duty.

"There is nothing quite like the awe and power of great cinematic storytelling on the big screen, and Cinemark is proud to once again welcome guests to enjoy the shared, immersive experience they crave in a way that provides them confidence and peace of mind," said Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi in a press release Wednesday. 

AMC has also said it plans to open "almost all" of its US theaters in July, but the company hasn't yet released specific details. 

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, has rapidly spread across the globe. There are now over 8 million confirmed cases globally, with more than 2 million in the US, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Watch this: Vaccines, antibody tests, treatments: The science of ending the pandemic