Movie theaters would be among the first businesses to reopen after coronavirus under Trump plan

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A sole spectator watches a film in a movie theatre in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Effective from today, cinemas in Hungary are restricted to sell a maximum of 99 tickets for a show as the Hungarian government declared a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus, and prohibited all indoor events with more than 100 participants and outdoor events attended by more than 500 participants. (Marton Monus/MTI via AP)

As the country takes the first baby steps back from the coronavirus shutdown, movie theaters could be one of the early beneficiaries.

Cinemas would be allowed to reopen in the first of three phases under the guidelines released Thursday by the White House.

Just when theaters, along with restaurants, sports stadiums and churches, will be allowed to welcome back the public under the Trump administration plan is yet to be seen. It will be left largely up to governors to decide when their states are ready to take the first step back to what was once considered normal.

President Donald Trump, in announcing the reopening at his daily news conference, said some are more ready than others. The plan didn’t include a timetable. 

“I think we’re going to have a lot of states open relatively soon,” Trump said. “I don’t want anyone coming back who isn’t in position to come back.” He added about the reopening, however, “I think it will be much faster than people think.” 

Some industry watchers worry that the plan may raise false hope when the coronavirus may be in decline in some cities, but is still raging.

Social distancing will still play a starring role, at least in the early days. Theaters will be able to operate “under strict physical distancing protocols,” according to the plan.

That could mean many seats or even entire rows blocked off.

This article is adapted from USAToday.

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