Cinemark won’t require guests to wear masks despite coronavirus

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When Cinemark reopens its theaters in June, guests won’t have to wear a face mask.

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In a call with analysts this week, the movie chain detailed its reopening strategy, explaining that while it will not require moviegoers to wear face covers in accordance with guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it will “encourage” them to do so.

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CNK CINEMARK HOLDINGS 16.34 +0.39 +2.45%

“We have been intensely focused in developing enhanced health and safety protocols, understanding that these factors will weigh heavily on the confidence and peace of mind of our employees, guests and community as we reopen our theaters,” CEO Mark Zoradi said on the call, adding that the chain will direct employees to wear face covers.

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Health officials warn the likelihood of spreading coronavirus is heightened when people do not wear protection, and especially in situations where it can be difficult to maintain social distance.

Cinemark did not immediately respond to a request for comment from FOX Business.

Zoradi did note, according to The Wrap, that the movie chain would implement seat-buffering technology, allowing guests to physically distance themselves from others when purchasing tickets online. Cinemark will also ramp up its cleaning policies, reduce social interactions at the box office and concession stands and install screen shields between customers and workers.

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The chain also said it would supply hand and seat cleaners for guests, stagger movie times to reduce foot traffic and join other companies, like Amazon, in screening staff before their shifts. It will also run an initial maximum seating capacity of 50 percent with six feet between patrons.

Cinemark plans to open in four phases on June 19, starting with a five theater test in Texas. After that, the company plans to open a third of its theaters the next week. The company wants to have all of its U.S. locations reopened by July 10.

“Of course it depends on a continuing positive movement, relative to the decline of COVID-19 and the government restrictions being reduced across the country,” Zoradi told analysts.

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The chain will screen Russell Crowe’s “Unhinged” July 1, Christopher Nolan's “Tenet” July 17, Disney's "Mulan” July 24, Paramount's “Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run” August 7 and Warner Bros.' “Wonder Woman 1984” August 14, said The Hollywood Reporter.

Cinemark, in its first-quarter results, saw a quarterly loss of $59.6 million, or 51 cents per share, compared with a profit of $32.7 million in the year-ago period, or 28 cents a share. It temporarily closed all of its theatres effective March 18, as the COVID-19 outbreak spanned nationwide.

Total revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2020, were $543.6 million compared to $714.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019. Admissions revenues were $292.5 million and concession revenues were $190.4 million in the latest quarter.

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