Guidance for indoor movie theaters

Documents needed to open theaters for screenings during the pandemic.


Action required: Complete and post a Health and Safety Plan from this fillable PDF, before you open your Indoor Movie Theater

Action required: Complete and post this Social Distancing Protocol.

Action required: The Health Order requires that businesses post certain signage for their customers during the coronavirus pandemic. This poster meets of all the signage requirements for movie theaters. It is in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino.

Action required: The Health Order requires that businesses post certain signage during the coronavirus pandemic. This poster meets the requirement for communicating indoor risk, for all businesses doing indoor operations.

Guidance for Indoor Movie theaters to open.

See this guidance in 中文, Pilipino, Español

Guidance about ventilation from the Department of Public Health, for businesses, offices, schools, faith-based and similar organizations.

Health directive about best practices for indoor movie theaters.

The Shelter-in-Place Order that states what activities are allowed and prohibited during the COVID-19 emergency.

General requirements

Indoor movie theaters can operate at 25% capacity, up to 100 people for each theater screen. Only screened performances can be shown. No live performances are allowed.

Set up an online reservation system so that each household party is assigned 6 feet of space in all directions. This includes in front and behind. Parties can be up to 10 people.

Screen everyone for COVID-19 symptoms before they enter. Send people home if they feel sick.

Increase ventilation from the outside. Open windows and doors. Consider getting air cleaners or upgrading air filters.

No food or drinks inside

All concessions and dining areas must stay closed. Do not let moviegoers bring food or drinks inside. 

Everyone must wear face coverings, and keep them on, while inside the theater.

Limit contact between people

The following must still be closed:

  • Concessions and dining areas
  • Vending machines
  • Water fountains
  • Common areas (lounges, arcades)

Thoroughly clean between screenings

Provide hand sanitizer at entrances.

Theaters must disinfect:

  • Auditoriums
  • Previously occupied seats (you can use the seating chart)
  • Highly touched surfaces once an hour (such as doors, handles, faucets, and tables)
  • High traffic areas every 4 hours (such as waiting areas, hallways, and bathrooms)

You can use seat covers for fabric chairs to make them easier to clean. 

More information

Daily health screener you can use with your patrons and workers.

Download signage to print yourself, or get printed posters.

Find SF vendors who sell face masks, hand sanitizer, and other protective equipment for your employees.

See general information about operating a business during the pandemic.

See business guidance from the Department of Public Health.

More languages

See health directives and plans in various languages.


Movie theaters can reopen indoors under new health directive (October 7, 2020)