Beginning Friday, May 1st, Texas Governor Greg Abbott will allow the re-opening of retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and other places of business that were previously shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Alamo Drafthouse, which has 21 locations in the state of Texas, will not be taking the governor up on his offer — at least not yet.
In a statement, the Austin-based movie theater chain said it would remain closed for the foreseeable future. “Opening safely is a very complex project that involves countless new procedures and equipment, all of which require extensive training,” the company explained. “This is something we cannot and will not do casually or quickly. We will not be opening this weekend. But know this, when we do open, we will be providing the safest possible experience for both our staff and our guests, and we can’t wait to see you all again!”
Beyond the safety implications, Alamo Drafthouse’s decision also comes down to simple economics. Under re-opening guidelines issued by Texas, establishments such as movie theaters can only operate at 25% capacity. Plus, Hollywood is holding off on releasing any major titles until at least July — which is one of the main reasons rival AMC is also staying closed.
Movie-lovers can still get the Alamo Drafthouse experience via “Alamo-At-Home”, the chain’s digital programming initiative. Launched in late March, the campaign includes Alamo’s longest-running series, Terror Tuesday and Wacky Wednesday, which are now streamed digitally each week alongside pre-show content, introductions, and discussions.