MEMPHIS • Malco Theatres is keeping its theaters open, but is limiting the number of seats available.

The Memphis-based theater chain said cinema cleanliness is one of its highest priorities and was “doubling efforts to ensure additional measures are being taken to clean and sanitize the theatres.”

Malco said it will be limiting the seating in each auditorium to a maximum of 50% of its capacity.

The Tupelo Commons Cinema Grill has 10 auditoriums, with total capacity of just over 1,000. That will be cut to about 500 seats maximum.

“This seating arrangement reduces crowded auditoriums, allowing for guests to practice healthy social distancing,” the company said.

Malco said it would step up the pace in deep cleaning areas that had direct contact with customers, including kiosks, counters, restrooms, auditoriums, seats and handrails.

And it said it would “reeducate” all employees on protocols for proper hand washing and personal hygiene. Also, employees not feeling home would be asked to stay home.

Malco said it is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and local officials.

“We encourage our patrons to help us maintain a healthier environment by washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and respecting personal boundaries,” the company said in a press release. “And finally, in the event you are planning a trip to the movies, but aren’t feeling well, we ask that you please refrain from visiting us until you feel better.”

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