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AMC Entertainment Limits Cinema Attendance to 50 People Per Showing

By Eric Volkman - Mar 16, 2020 at 9:03PM

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The limit doesn't apply to municipalities that have barred the operation of movie theaters outright.

AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC 17.99%) has enacted a new limited-attendance policy at all of its venues in the U.S., according to various media reports. The company, operator of the largest movie theater chain in the country, will allow no more than 50 patrons into any of its film screenings.

The move comes only three days after AMC imposed a policy in which those theaters would limit attendance to a maximum of 50% of seat capacity, with a threshhold of no more than 250 attendees in the company's larger cinemas.

AMC movie theater marquee

Image source: AMC Entertainment Holdings

At that time, AMC said the these measures meant it was "taking aggressive, nationwide steps to provide additional space between guests within all its U.S. theaters, to keep its theaters clean and to discourage those with health concerns from coming to its theaters."

It added that these were in line with social distancing recommendations from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These guidelines are aimed at slowing and limiting the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the rapidly spreading coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease.

Certain municipalities have gone further than AMC, eliminating access to entertainment venues altogether. One happens to be the center of the entertainment industry, Los Angeles. The city has instituted a temporary, albeit complete, closure on businesses such as bars, nightclubs, and movie theaters. In response to the latter, studios have either pushed back the release dates of upcoming films, or made them available via video streaming.

AMC's share performance on Monday reflected the latest fortunes of the wider film industry, not to mention the market's top stocks -- it fell by more than 19% on the day.

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