While you were gone (copy)

The AMC movie theater on South Valley Mills Drive, minus any movie buffs.

A long, quiet summer for Waco movie fans may start to murmur back to life next month as both AMC and Regal Cinemas plan to begin reopening their theaters next month after closings to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Regal Cinemas has announced July 10 as the date it will reopen after shutting its 543 theaters down for three months while AMC, the country's largest theater chain, will start to reopen 450 of its some 600 theaters July 15.

A Regal Cinemas company release outlines the changes in operations that the reopened theaters will have, including social distancing in seating; using a ULV (ultra-low volume) fogger to disinfect each auditorium between screenings; online purchase options for tickets and concessions; limited concessions; hourly handwashing for employees; and more.

AMC will require customers and employees to wear masks — a change from an earlier decision to make them optional for customers except localities where mask-wearing was mandated — with social distancing in seating; reduced theater capacity; contactless ticketing; regular sanitation of auditoriums between screenings; and other precautions.

AMC operates Waco's AMC Classic Galaxy Cinemas 16 on South Valley Mills Drive while Regal Cinemas operates Waco's Regal Jewel 16 Cinemas on U.S. Highway 84.

The Waco Hippodrome, with five screens, has been showing movies since May

The Deep In The Heart Film Festival, by the way, still is on track for its August 6-9 appearance at the Hippodrome after moving its annual date from earlier in the year.

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