Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC 2.91%) were rising 7.8% in morning trading Thursday on no news specific to the theater operator, though there was progress being made on the coronavirus front.
Rising or falling numbers of COVID-19 cases will impact AMC as it will determine whether people are ready to return to movie theaters in large numbers. Right now Godzilla vs. Kong from AT&T's Warner Bros. continues to dominate at the box office, with over $80 million generated so far, which isn't too bad considering theaters are operating at less than maximum capacity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 40% of the U.S. population have received at least one dose of a vaccine and 26% are fully vaccinated. At the same time, the number of COVID-19 cases and the number of new cases continues on its downward trend.
Growing numbers of people who have been vaccinated coupled with falling rates of new cases bodes well for more state governments lifting lockdowns and mask mandates that prevent a return to normalcy.
To date, 13 states no longer require wearing masks in public. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told people if they've been vaccinated: "My view is, the vaccines are effective, you're immune. And so act immune."
Such policies and rhetoric could help encourage the public to return to their normal leisure time routines sooner, which could help attendance rise further at AMC theaters.