Theatre Owners Agree To Keep San Francisco Cinemas Closed Due To Concessions Ban

San Francisco movie theaters can't sell concessions when they reopen
Despite NATO California-Nevada opting not to reopen San Francisco movie theaters due to the concession ban, the big circuits have decided otherwise. Mega Agency

Thanks, but no thanks, San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

While San Francisco County gave the go-ahead for movie theaters to reopen today, members of the National Association of Theatre Owners of California/Nevada have agreed unanimously to remain closed in the City by the Bay.

Why? San Francisco’s current ban on movie concessions “makes it economically impossible for our members to reopen and significantly limits the moviegoing experience for our audiences,” NATO CA/NV said in a release today.

AMC Metreon San Francisco
The AMC Metreon in San Francisco typically is a top 10-grossing theater. AMC

“NATO of CA/NV respectfully asks that San Francisco city officials follow the state’s and other counties’ guidelines in their approach to reopening theatres, while also remaining consistent with how they’re allowing other businesses to reopen,” reads the release.

Movie Theaters Reopening Soon In San Francisco, But There’s A Catch

“While we respect and thank Mayor Breed for her decision to allow movie theatres to reopen, the restrictions in place present an insurmountable financial challenge for our members to do so and are preventing thousands of workers from returning to work,” said Milton Moritz, President and CEO of NATO of CA/NV. “Our members have taken the steps to meet or exceed expert-backed health and safety measures, and we ask that the city reconsider its reopening plan so our theatres can, once again, serve our San Francisco community.”

Moritz cites that theaters in the city have voluntarily committed to health and safety protocols and guidelines developed by leading epidemiologists to address COVID-19, i.e. the wearing of masks at all times, social distancing, reduced capacity, air filtration and mobile ticketing.

San Francisco is currently in California’s “orange tier,” which means movie theaters can reopen at a 50%  capacity or up to 200 people. To date, 40 counties in California in addition to others around the country have reopened theaters per state guidelines with full concession sales. San Francisco has allowed indoor dining to resume, which means the city approves the consumption of food and beverages indoors. Go figure.

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