Update: After publication, both Austin Film Society and Violet Crown Cinema announced they too will not open on May.
It will be a while longer before movie fans can catch a flick in an Alamo Drafthouse theater. Despite Texas Governor Greg Abbott announcing that businesses including movie theaters, restaurants, malls, and retails shops may reopen this week with limited capacity, Austin's homegrown movie chain says it will not be among them.
In a statement shared via email and social media, the Drafthouse writes: "We will not be opening our Texas theaters this weekend. Opening safely is a very complex project that involves countless new procedures and equipment, all of which require extensive training. This is something we cannot and will not do casually or quickly."
Alamo Drafthouse will, however, continue offering the revenue streams it's put into place in the wake of COVID-19, including curbside pickup of cocktail kits, movies, and food, as well as its participation in Virtual Cinema, an at-home streaming service that benefits indie movie houses.
On Monday, April 27, Governor Abbott announced that certain businesses, such as theaters, may reopen on Friday, May 1, at 25 percent capacity and with certain sanitation restrictions in place, what the governor has dubbed "Phase 1" of the plan. If these businesses can reopen without a spike in new infections, then they may increase their capacities in mid-May.
"My executive order to stay at home is set to expire on April 30 and that executive stay-at-home order has done its job to slow the growth of COVID-19, so I will let it expire as scheduled and set a new course," Abbott said during his press conference. "We want to responsibly reopen using safe standards for businesses and their employees, as well as their customers."
If Texas maintains or lowers its current COVID-19 infection rates, the state will move into "Phase 2," which includes the potential reopening of bars, barber shops and hair salons, and gyms.
As for the Drafthouse, it did not announce an opening timeline, but did say it was working towards a safe reopening. "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."