Governor Brian Kemp announced plans to begin reopening non-essential businesses in Georgia, including movie theaters, on Monday, April 27, 2020.
However, he’s getting a lot of pushback from studios and filmmakers with ongoing productions in Georgia, such as Marvel movies and the series The Walking Dead, who don’t want their cast or crew members taking any risks while the coronavirus is still spreading.
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines say that when a state has experienced 14 days of declining cases of COVID-19, they can begin reopening their economies. However, Georgia has not achieved that goal.
According to CNN, Georgia is ranked 11th in regards to coronavirus cases in the United States, with 18,900 cases and 733 deaths as of April 20.
The theater owners questioned about Kemp’s announcement didn’t seem eager to reopen. Independent theater owner Brandt Gully told Variety, “We are not going to open on Monday, and we don’t have any plans as to when we would. Even if we wanted to, we wouldn’t be ready. It just doesn’t feel socially responsible to me to go out there to try to grab a few bucks.”
Atlanta Plaza Theatre owner Chris Escobar added, “I don’t want to be that movie theater, where the outbreak in Atlanta is all related to the f–king Plaza Theatre.” He also spoke about the lack of movies, with most of the bigger releases having been moved forward to later dates in 2020 and even 2021, and the smaller movies releasing straight to VOD and Digital.
Theater chains such as Cinemark laid off their employees in March and don’t plan to reopen until mid-July at the earliest, in time for Warner Bros.’ July 17 release of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller Tenet and Disney’s Mulan on July 24. However, release dates have continued to change weekly as it becomes evident the pandemic is not slowing down.
The most renowned filmmaker speaking out about Georgia possibly opening their movie theaters has been Atlanta-born director Spike Lee (pictured above in a post to his Instagram page). He told Variety in an email: “Open Movie Theatres Now? Hell To Da Naw. I Got Alot More Movies To Make, Not Rollin’ Da Dice Wit’ Da Only Life I Got. TESTING. TESTING And Mo’ TESTING.”
The United States currently has 912, 838 cases of coronavirus and has experienced 51,607 deaths as of today (April 24) — over twice as many deaths and many more cases than Spain, which sits in second spot for cases at 219,764 total, with 22,524 deaths. The world total now stands at 196,412 deaths from the coronavirus. ~Alexandra Heilbron
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