Last Updated: October 9, 2020, 12:56 pm

OPINION | Movie theaters are not currently safe

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, theaters are creating regulations for the safety of their guests and employees, and many seats will be left untouched. Michael Santoscoy says as much of a movie fan as he is, going to a movie theater during these uncertain times is not safe. Photo by Breanna Biorato.


As a movie watching fanatic, it pains me to say this out loud, but going to a movie theater during these uncertain times is not safe.

It’s the month of October, which is the right time to watch those classic scary horror, thriller and suspense movies. The Sunset Stadium Megaplex theater will be playing “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Monster House” and “Hocus Pocus” Oct. 9-15. I would give anything to go see these movies in theaters with my friends and family and be filled with nostalgia.

I remember the first time I watched “Monster House” in theaters when I was a kid. My favorite scene was when the characters DJ, Chowder, and Jenny were in DJ’s room and Jenny discovers a bottle with yellow liquid inside. Chowder said, “DJ, you pee in bottles!” My younger and more immature self thought that was the funniest thing ever, and I couldn’t stop laughing. Then the scariest scene for me was when the house comes alive toward the end of the movie, so much that I hid behind my hands.

I wouldn’t give up those memories for the world and it’s hard for me to say I don’t want to go to the movie theaters now because of the pandemic.

COVID-19 cases increase every day in Utah and it’s hard to say when this nightmare will end. What concerns me the most about this pandemic is people don’t know if they have COVID-19 when they’re asymptomatic.

Maria Van Kerkhove, a top World Health Organization official, said the percentage of people who are asymptomatic is estimated between 6% and 41%.

That percentage of people who are asymptomatic is way too high for me to live my life stress free.

Taking a look at Sunset Stadium’s policies, I understand the precautions that are being taken. For example, requiring people to wear masks, auditorium seating capacity being limited to 50%, and row spacing. I’m glad movie theaters are doing everything they can to keep the public safe; however, I can’t see myself sitting in a movie theater with a mask on. Somebody like me who wears glasses is going to be constantly annoyed because they’ll fog up and it’ll be difficult to enjoy the movie.

Then there’s going to be that one person who doesn’t know they have COVID-19 and could be sitting shoulder to shoulder with me, and that person could take off their mask to eat popcorn or take a sip of soda, which heightens the risk of contracting COVID-19. Although the precautions being taken by the movie theater are to keep some people safe, there’s still a lot of risk involved. I’m not going to risk myself getting sick and ruin my movie theater experience.

A different way I can still enjoy getting that movie experience is staying home, watching Netflix, surrounded by my friends and family who are following CDC guidelines in their everyday life. I’ve been hooked on watching Netflix movies because they’ve been dishing out new films consistently. Last month, I watched three new movies on Netflix, which are: “The Babysitter: Killer Queen,” “The Devil All the Time” and “#Alive.” After I watched all these films with my friends, we couldn’t stop talking about them; we got our dose of fresh movies.

So, why go out to a movie theater when Netflix has more movies coming out in October? TIME has this list of new shows and movies that are coming in October and what you can look forward to.

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