When can I go back to the movies after all?

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Key results

  • Experts say that the most vaccinated people can safely go to the movies if precautions are taken.
  • Before going back to the operating room, it is advisable to review your medical history and incidence.
  • Theaters will likely be allowed to increase bandwidth to 100% once herd immunity is achieved and local and regional incidence rates decline.

Unsurprisingly, movie attendance has plummeted since the start of the pandemic. But as vaccine adoption grows steadily (16.9% of the US population is already fully vaccinated), you may be able to see a summer blockbuster or two on the big screen in the next few months .

If you plan to celebrate your vaccination status by going to the movies soon, here are some tips on what to consider before you travel and how to stay safe.

What to look for before hitting the road

First, Chonghui Chi, Master of Public Health, director of the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University School of Public Health and Humanities, tells Get Meds Info that it's important to make sure you're fully vaccinated. You are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single Johnson & Johnson vaccine .

However, after those two weeks, "it will be possible to go to theaters as long as the theater is hygienic and safe," says Chi. These include the accommodation of spectators with fewer people and the periodic cleaning and disinfection of the facilities ”, he adds.

Before deciding to go to the movies, Chi recommends that you think of two things.

Take a look at local incidence rates. If your county is still reporting a significant number of new infections, illnesses, and deaths every day, you should wait until the situation is better controlled.

And remember your medical history. If you have a weakened immune system, you should be especially careful about the potential risk. 'I recommend using more conservative criteria [if you have a weakened immune system], such as waiting until the number of new cases in your county exceeds one per 100,000 residents, as well as wearing a mask and following all safety precautions ”, Chi says … …

Also, you should not use your vaccination status as an excuse to reject public health recommendations. "In public, where many are not vaccinated, you still have to wear a mask and maintain social distance," says Get Meds Info Robert Murphy, MD , professor of infectious diseases at the School of Medicine. Feinberg, Northwestern University.

What does this mean to you

If you decide to go to the movies after a full vaccination, stay tuned. Continue to wear the mask, communicate remotely, and wash your hands frequently. When you are in the cinema, do not eat or drink, as you will have to remove your mask and make sure there is space between you and the other spectators.

Be careful when watching a movie

So you've weighed the pros and cons and decided to implement your plan to see the movie. Now what?

Once in the OR, Chi says you should definitely take standard precautions, although the severity depends on the severity and prevalence of COVID-19 in your area. In the theater:

  • Wear a mask
  • Do not eat or drink as this will remove the mask.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands. If necessary, squeeze a tablespoon of hand sanitizer into the palm of your hand beforehand.
  • Sit as far away from others as possible (excluding peers)
  • Wash your hands and change when you return home.

"By the time there are no new cases in your area every day for at least two weeks, you can relax some of these measures and be able to eat and drink while watching the movie," Chi says.

Murphy also emphasizes the importance of camouflage and social distancing. "[We] wear a mask and stay at least 3 feet away from other people," he says.

When will theaters fill up again?

Many theaters that have remained open or reopened have been forced to make concessions due to the pandemic, including the imposition of strict seating limits. In Massachusetts, for example, theaters are limited to 50% of maximum capacity and in New York to 25% or 50 people .

"The increase in theater capacity will depend on achieving herd immunity or restricting VO assistance [for vaccinated people only]," says Murphy.

Chi agrees that cinemas can increase their capacity when 70% or more of the population is fully vaccinated and the number of new daily COVID-19 cases falls below 10 per million. It describes these conditions as "fairly strict and conservative", but probably reasonable according to the Taiwan case study.

"With a population of 23.8 million, Taiwan has been able to prevent any outbreak since April 12, 2020," he says. "Even in such a safe environment – literally zero daily incidence rates – Taiwanese cinemas and concert halls continue to use limited bandwidth and the mandatory use of face masks."

He adds that this is a complex issue that is being reported largely by "state, county and capital health authorities."

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