Guidance for indoor movie theaters

Documents needed to prepare theaters for screenings during the pandemic.

General requirements

Indoor movie theaters must close, due to SF being assigned to the State’s Purple Tier.

Prepare to reopen, when SF is out of the Purple Tier

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, vending machines, and dining areas attached to the theater 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. 


8.5 x 11 poster in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino addressing the pause in reopening.

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. See this protocol in Español or 中文 or Filipino or русский or Tiếng Việt or عربى.

Action required: All businesses must post information for their staff about how to report violations of COVID-19 health orders at the workplace. It is in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino. You can also download this poster in 11x17 size.

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, when it's allowed again.

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.

Other languages: [Chinese]  [Spanish]  [Tagalog]

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.