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UPDATED: The national lobby group for US exhibitors has said many sites will not be able to re-open early as the state of Georgia takes steps to revive the local economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Association Of Theatres Owners (NATO) issued a statement on Wednesday (22), days after the governor of Georgia said shuttered theatres could reopen in the state as early as next Monday (27) subject to certain conditions, in line with new White House guidance.

Governor Brian Kemp has said certain businesses could return this week followed by theatres, subject to specific social distancing and sanitation mandates. 

The NATO statement reads: “While some states and localities are beginning to authorise the opening of movie theatres under certain conditions, the movie theatre industry is also a national one.

“Until the majority of markets in the U.S. are open, and major markets in particular, new wide release movies are unlikely to be available. As a result, some theatres in some areas that are authorised to open may be able economically to reopen with repertory product; however, many theatres will not be able to feasibly open.”

Industry sources said earlier this week that major exhibitors and other chains regarded early state reopenings as too aggressive given current lockdown protocols, and without a product line-up until July, would not be ready to open possibly until the summer. Christopher Nolan’s thriller tentpole Tenet remains on the schedule to open on July 17 through Warner Bros.

AMC Theatres is understood to be looking at a return by late June / early July, and CEO Adam Aron told a TV interview recently he was considering temperature checks on customers. Cinemark executives recently intimated the chain could open in mid-summer, which some reports have put at July 1.

Speaking at Wednesday’s daily news conference president Trump claimed he told Governor Kemp he “strongly” disagreed with the latter’s bid to open businesses, but would let the governor do what he thought was best in his state. The statement is at odds with reports citing sources who said Trump and vice president Mike Pence both called Kemp on Tuesday night to support his approach.