The nation's largest movie theater chain is about to reopen in the Twin Cities and elsewhere in the country, with masks mandatory for patrons and employees as part of its effort to counter the spread of the coronavirus.
The following metro area locations will open next Thursday: Eden Prairie Center, Rosedale Center in Roseville, Southdale Center in Edina, and in Coon Rapids and Inver Grove Heights.
More than 100 theaters will open next week, with another 300 to follow over the subsequent two weeks, AMC said.
Additional reopenings in Minnesota include Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove on Aug. 27, and Apple Valley and Mankato on Sept. 3.
After several false starts due to a summer rise in coronavirus cases throughout much of the U.S., widespread moviegoing is set to resume in late August. Regal Cinemas, the nation's second-largest chain, intends to reopen some U.S. locations on Aug. 21 with many COVID-19 safeguards. Its website lists no theaters in Minnesota.
The resumption of business comes as AMC marks its 100th anniversary. In a nod to that milestone, the chain is setting admission at 15 cents (plus tax) on the reopening's first day.
Movie theaters were among public gathering places forced to close early in the spring as the highly contagious coronavirus swept across the nation and around the world.
Several states, including California and New York, have yet to allow movie theaters to reopen.
Masks must be worn before, during and after the movie while in the theater complex, except when eating or drinking, the chain said.
Neck gaiters, open-chin bandannas and masks with vents or exhalation valves are not acceptable, AMC noted. Anyone without a mask can buy one on-site for $1.
AMC outlined several other steps it is taking:
• "Significant" reductions in the number of tickets sold.
• Seats assigned to promote social distancing.
• Limited concessions menu to reduce waiting and ordering time.
• Extra time between showtimes to "allow for a full, thorough cleaning" of theaters.
• Enhanced disinfecting nightly after closing time.
• Upgraded air filtration.
• Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes made available.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482