How cinemas will allocate seating when they reopen after the pandemic will be dependent upon a number of factors:
- Infection rate trends in the geographic area in which a cinema is located.
- Where the cinema is located geographically and what the local health guidance or regulations are in that area.
- Whether a cinema has technology capable of selling seats with an appropriate "social distance" between them.
- A cinema operator's willingness, both financially and operationally, for reducing their auditorium capacity.
Item number 1 may dictate when cinemas reopen in a certain geographic area, what the health guidelines are (item 2), whether audiences will feel comfortable returning to the movies and thus whether a theatre owner would be foolish not to reduce capacity, no matter their willingness (item 4).
Item 3 is probably not much of a hurdle as technology providers, point-of-sale vendors, etc. are working hard to enable reduced capacity sales.
However, because of point 2 above, even if industry trade groups publish a standard guideline for how cinemas should take social distancing into account, it will likely be superseded by instructions from local health authorities in each region.