Mask up: Why Alamo Drafthouse cinemas are still requiring masks
Cinephiles can be quite picky about their theater-going experience. Many theater chains don’t give them the sound quality they are looking for or the seats are uncomfortable. However, ask any one of them about luxury movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse, and they will most likely sing its praises.
With reclining seats, award-winning food and beverages, and perfect picture quality, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain has been delighting and catering to its audiences since 1997. Its forty-one locations are spread out across the United States, twenty-one of which are located in Texas, its home base.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Alamo Drafthouse, like many other U.S. companies, has been struggling to survive. However, the theater chain made it clear on Tuesday that despite its financial woes, it will still make safety its top priority amidst new Texas regulations. Here’s why Alamo Drafthouse is keeping its mask policy in place.
On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced he was lifting his state’s mask mandate, even as health officials warn against the lax safety decision. He indicated that any type of business will be allowed to operate at one hundred percent, starting March 10th. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves made the same decision for his state earlier that same day.
“Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities. Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100%,” Abbott said.
Despite his claims, Governor Abbott still encouraged Texans to proceed with caution. “Removing state mandates does not end personal responsibility and caring for your family members, friends and others in your community.” He then clarified his position that “people and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate.”
— Alamo Drafthouse (@alamodrafthouse) March 3, 2021
Alamo Drafthouse, who’s Texas-based, addressed Governor Abbott’s decision to open the state back up with a statement on their official Twitter account. Without referencing the decision by name, the luxury cinema chain said, “Alamo Drafthouse’s mandatory mask policy remains in place, as well as our 6’ [feet] social distancing protocols, and all of the other safety measures we’ve had in place across the country since last year.”
The company’s statement continued, citing their decision to keep their mask policy in place due to the Center for Disease Control guidelines and medical science.“We are only following the guidance of the CDC and medical experts, not politicians. Right now, at what we hope is the beginning of the end of COVID, the health of our teams and our guests remains this company’s top priority.”
Like most movie theaters post-COVID, Alamo Drafthouse has suffered financially. Over the last year, huge movie premieres and releases were pushed back. Wonder Woman 1984 and the new James Bond film No Time To Die were rescheduled multiple times. With no one going to the movies and low ticket sales, theater chains like Cineworld, Regal Cinemas, and AMC Theaters have all either closed locations or filed for bankruptcy.
Some movie theater groups, including Alamo Drafthouse, resorted to showing their films via drive-in or online pay-per-view sites, competing with streaming services and video-on-demand options. When the chain is showing films, the theaters are not operating at full capacity and separating unrelated parties by one seat, making less money than they would be packed or even half full.
On Wednesday, Alamo Drafthouse joined many other theater chains and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. However, it doesn’t look like Alamo will close locations. The filing is part of a previous investor agreement, and operations will continue as normal.
According to Variety, “the Chapter 11 process will give it the capital it needs to continue operating as it emerges from a public health crisis that left many of its locations closed for months.”
What do you think of Texas’s mask restrictions being lifted? What is your favorite Alamo Drafthouse memory? Let us know in the comments below.