Movie theaters explore new normal for reopening post-pandemic

Posted at 6:51 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 11:02:51-04

MILWAUKEE — Marcus Theatres is planning a 50 percent maximum capacity in its theaters when it reopens.

"We've been very diligent on making sure that when we reopen, our consumers absolutely feel safe and they feel that we're going to provide a safe and healthy environment," Rolando Rodriguez, Chairman, President and CEO of Marcus Theatres said.

This is part of its COVID-19 plan. Rodriguez says all of its employees will be screened before their shifts and will wear masks. They're also asking patrons to wear masks when they're in common areas like the lobby.

"We're asking, very politely, for our guests to please participate in bringing their own mask," Rodriguez said. "If for some reason somebody forgets their mask, we will be glad to provide them one."

The theatres will also be aiming on low touch and low contact environments so people can buy tickets online, purchase concessions online and have a pickup area. Once in the theater, customers are allowed to remove their masks to consume their concessions.

However, once inside, there will be two empty seats between every couple to ensure social distancing guidelines.

"We need to make sure that it's two people and then two seats, and then two people and then two seats," Rodriguez said. "So they may come off six together, they can certainly be within the same row but there is just going to be two seats in between each of one of them."

Whatever it looks like, local filmmaker Michael Snowden is excited to get back to watching movies.

"Sitting back with your feet up in comfortable chairs and eating popcorn," Snowden said. "I missed that part. Kind of just that, taking a break for the day and just relaxing outside of the house."

Snowden hasn't been outside of the house to see a movie in months. He says going to movies is a great way to relax and step away from reality.

"It takes you away from like your current moment where you are right now and it sucks you into an alternate universe," Snowden said. "You get a chance to experience something you probably wouldn't if you didn't get a chance to sit down and just enjoy that story.'

Another local filmmaker, Jay Winters, had the same sentiment. She is excited to create again so people can view her work.

"I want them to see this world and imagine themselves there and be inspired by someone and go out and do something," Winters said. "I hope that's what my art pushes out of you."

Marcus Theatres says it's important to them to maintain their special promotions when they reopen. Despite losing millions in the first quarter of the year, deals like $5 Tuesday will still be available.

"It's very important to us that we over a valuable price value experience that consumers can have some joy in their life and be able to afford coming out during a very difficult time period," Rodriguez said.

Here's the Rebound Rundown:

  • Marcus Theatres plans to reopen three to five theaters in June
  • The maximum capacity in the theater will be 50 percent
  • Two seats will be placed between each couple to adhere to social distancing rules
  • Employees and customers will be required to wear masks

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