The National Association of Theatre Owners shares an acronym with a much more powerful organizing body worldwide, but if you’re interested in seeing a movie in America in the next few months, that group’s take on vaccine mandates is certainly worth knowing. Which is why a report about the group not fighting back against showing proof of vaccination to see movies is certainly interesting news as you plan out potential trips to the theater in the coming months.
The Hollywood Reporter noted on Monday that NATO’s president said it would not publicly object to new mandates that will be in place in cities like New York in the coming weeks that require people to prove they have been vaccinated to continue indoor activities like dining, going to the gym, and seeing movies:
NATO has decided not to take a position either way on the looming New York City ordinance, and won’t object. Nor is it trying to block the proposed L.A. rule.
“In order for the exhibition industry to fully recover, we need more people to be vaccinated. It’s pure science. The rates of shots had went quite well for a while in the U.S. and then they dropped off. We need them to keep going,” National Association of Theatre Owners president John Fithian tells The Hollywood Reporter.
According to the report, the decision to not say anything came after talking with its members, which include theater owners across the country. While some box office numbers cropped up earlier in the spring and summer with some movies returning to the silver screen, numbers have flagged as of late as the Delta variant of coronavirus has caused a spike in cases and hospitalizations in largely unvaccinated portions of the United States.
The decision seems to be practical as well as political. While Fithian admitted that ticket revenue may be lost in the short term by requiring people show proof of vaccination or not be allowed to attend, the decision is also about the long-term goal of ending the pandemic once and for all.
NATO isn’t the actual theater companies running these chains, nor the actual city governments putting these bans in place. But if the people whose theaters have been in flux for more than a year now seem in favor of legislation directly impacting their bottom line, it’s tough to imagine chains like AMC or Regal actually opposing their stance that these measures are, in fact, positive steps in getting things back to normal.