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Best Movie Theaters in Washington DC: With COVID-19 Measures


As the nation is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are slowly returning to our old habits, even though nothing is like we are used to anymore. For instance, who doesn’t feel a yearning for a fun movie night at the theater like in “the old times”?

If you are in Washington DC or visiting Washington DC, give yourself a chance to revive this old habit in your life by visiting one of the city’s best movie theaters. Read on for the details, including COVID-19 safety policies at each movie theater.

AMC Georgetown 14:

Located in Northwest DC, the 14-screen cinema is particularly popular for its super comfortable, luxury leather recliners.

It offers a choice between RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX technologies to experience movies in three different ways that feature dramatically vibrant imaging, moving audio, seats that pulsate with the action, and more. Seats can be reserved during the online purchase of tickets.

Viewers must wear face coverings inside the building if they are not fully vaccinated, as part of AMC’s health and safety policy. But fully vaccinated customers are no longer required to wear masks in accordance with CDC guidelines, unless required by local mandates. Masks can be lifted while having food or drinks. You can buy a mask at the theater for only $1.

Outdoor air circulation is provided inside the theater through HVAC dampers, supply fans and exhaust fans that work 24/7. It also uses MERV 13 filters that catch the tiniest of droplets, which could be carrying coronavirus, as opposed the industry standard MERV 8 filter.

Common areas and frequently touched points are cleaned and disinfected multiple times a day. And disinfecting wipe stations are available throughout the theater.

It is also equipped with a full kitchen, offering options ranging from full-service dining to express-pick up. Menu items include pretzel bites, nachos, and annual refillable popcorn buckets.

The Avalon Theatre:

The Avalon Theatre, which opened in 1923, is known as the oldest operating movie house in the area. Its programs include film festivals, first-run studio films, independent and foreign films, as well as a weekly Wednesday night series, and other special programs tailored to students, families, and seniors.

DC’s only non-profit movie theater is described on its website as “a nonprofit, community-supported film and education center in Chevy Chase whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire the people of metropolitan Washington, DC.”

The Avalon Theatre Café is another gem where you can both get your movie tickets and healthy snacks of your choice at reasonable prices. It is allowed to bring anything you purchase into the movie with you, including alcoholic beverages. While you are there, make sure you try their delicious ice cream.

You can also use the wireless Internet provided by the café for free. The Avalon Theatre Café opens half an hour ahead of the first screening of each day and closes half an hour after the last screening of the day begins.

Tickets here are cheaper than many other theaters.

The Avalon’s health and safety protocols include theater capacity limits, socially distanced reserved seating and mandatory mask wearing for all patrons and staff. Masks are provided for guests who don’t have one.

The theater also updated its main HVAC system with high MERV-rated filters and installed stand-alone UVC air purifier units for the restrooms and café. There are hand sanitizer stations throughout the theater. Increased surface cleaning and daily electrostatic misting of all public spaces are also conducted.

There is also a new ticketing system aiming to offer socially distanced reserved seating and contactless purchase of tickets.

Regal Gallery Place & 4DX:

The Northwest DC theater complex is part of Regal, which is a subsidiary of the Cineworld Group that operates more than 500 theaters in 42 states and DC.

The 14-auditorium megaplex is frequently preferred by locals for a 4D movie-going experience with its comfy recliners and stadium seating. There is also a bowling alley in the complex.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Regal has put in place “CinemaSafe,” a program commissioned by the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) about protocols and guidelines developed by leading epidemiologists.

The theater doesn’t require vaccinated people to wear masks as long as it is in compliance with state and local public health guidelines.

Guests are now able to purchase concession items over their smartphones thanks to the Regal mobile app when in-theatre. They can also buy their movie tickets through the app in advance. Every other register will be closed to maintain social distancing, while a reduced menu offering will be available.

In addition, Regal reduces auditorium capacities where required by state or county mandate.

Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market:

The Angelika Pop-Up is a branch of the Angelika Film Center in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood that opened in 1989. Known for showing art house and foreign films, it also hosts special events and programs. Despite being a pop-up, the theater has been embraced and highly acclaimed by locals.

The theater has a fantastic lounge that offers a wide selection of food and beverages including seafood, Middle Eastern dishes, and craft wine and beer. But the prices are a little over the average.

You should note that there is no stadium seating at the Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market.
To enter the building, all guests must wear face coverings, which are required to remain on in all areas including lobbies, hallways, restrooms and auditoriums. Masks may be removed only while eating or drinking in the auditorium.

The theater placed floor decals at queues for box office, kiosks, concession, and restrooms to help customers maintain a social distance from others.

Other COVID-19-related measures include decreased seating capacity in every auditorium, acrylic barriers at concession stands, and other areas, six feet distance between registers, hand sanitizer stations, and staff members wearing masks and gloves.

The Angelika Pop-Up’s new seating system automatically blocks off the seats around you after you reserve a ticket.

It is advised to reserve tickets online in advance and arrive no more than 30 minutes before the showtime. You can also place your orders from concession stands via the Angelika Film Center mobile app.

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