With Tenet and a couple other films soon set to enter select movie theaters across the U.S., it's understandably tempting to start pondering if attempting an in-person viewing is truly now a wholly safe endeavor, particularly with regards to something as theater-crucial as Christopher Nolan's latest.
In a new piece from Patrick Gomez for the A.V. Club, two voices of authority with regards to matters of health were asked to share their thoughts on the prospect of people returning to theaters. And while the taste of semi-normalcy indeed a possibility for some around the country, both shared similarly impassioned messages of concern about the mid-pandemic theatrical experience.
Dr. Anne W. Rimoin, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center For Global And Immigrant Health at the University Of California Los Angeles, explained that a theater is a situation in which the possibilities for running into COVID-19 guideline restrictions are copious.
"We're advising people to not interact with others beyond their immediate family or home bubble unless absolutely necessary, to limit gatherings of more than 10 people in any given space, and to avoid indoor areas," Dr. Rimoin said. "And you should definitely not be in an indoor area where you’d be taking your mask off, not even for eating. Movie theaters have all of that."
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed—a physician, epidemiologist, America Dissected podcast host, and ex-city health commissioner—shared a similar assessment while noting his own appreciation for the in-person theatrical experience.
"I'm a huge fan of movies. I really enjoy them," Dr. El-Sayed said. "They're a great way to have some fun and escape from the world—which we need, especially right now. But going to see a movie in an indoor movie theater, it's just about the last thing I would do right now."
Among the more specific reasons for the doctor's urging of maintained theater avoidance are poorly circulated air, the ingestion of food and other items that require mask removal, the amount of time required to watch a movie, the lack of control of what others are doing around you during that time period, and more.
In lieu of a suddenly better coronavirus situation in the U.S., which still seems frustratingly unlikely for the immediate future, the method of viewing deemed the safest here is still the at-home way. Drive-in theaters and similar pop-ups, however, do receive a cautious shout-out in the A.V. Club piece.