There’s a viral tweet making the rounds that made it look as if AMC was throwing caution to the wind and not enforcing social distancing between assigned theater seats as they plan to reopen this Thursday. However, according to AMC, that’s not the case. According to the theater chain, starting Monday, the ticketing engine will automatically block out one seat on either side of the purchased seat, and the technology just wasn’t in place yet to represent that via current online seating charts.
We reached out to AMC directly about this issue and were informed that there was a slight disconnect between Phase 1 and Phase 2 of AMC theater reopenings. For instance, here’s the info for Phase 1:
Phase 2, meanwhile, starts today:
The reason seating charts were not displaying skipped seats, according to AMC, was that the company “needed a live ticket sales environment to test the technology.” The initial plan was for a two week test period, but after a successful launch, AMC decided “the results are satisfactory to roll out the technology to all reserved-seating theatres nationwide. As a result, the seat blocking technology is being rolled out beginning today for new showtimes at reserved-seating auditoriums. The rollout to the first wave of theatres should be complete by early this week.”
AMC adds that “If tickets have already been sold to a show, that show will remain at 30% of the total capacity, leaving ample space for guests to move a socially-distanced seat.” They’ve also provided us with an example of what a reserved seating, non-recliner auditorium will look like with automatic seat blocking in place. Recliner auditoriums will have one seat automatically blocked on either side of a party.
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