By Kennedy Mapes
After a long seven months of temporary closure, Michigan movie theaters can begin to reopen next week.
Last Friday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order that allows cinemas to reopen Friday, Oct. 9. This order includes the reopening of several other venues including bingo halls, trampoline parks, performance venues, arcades, indoor theaters, bowling alleys, and indoor climbing facilities as well. It also increases the allowance of capacity at indoor and outdoor public gatherings.
Cinemas have been shut down since mid-March due to the pandemic with only those in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula allowed to reopen back in June. With this new executive order, movie theatres statewide can finally begin to open their doors to guests again. While this news is exciting for cinemas and their guests, this reopening has required a lot of preparation and will look slightly different than what we are used to.
“We are doing a lot to ensure the safety of our guests” said Dan Brewster, General Manager of Celebration Cinema’s Studio Park location. “We have certainly been taking social distancing in account. We are following the state guidelines as it pertains to people per square feet in our auditoriums. We also have reserved seating at all locations and the two seats on either side of all selected seats will be blocked off. Our staff will be wearing masks at all times and gloves as well and we will be doing routine cleaning of all common touch points.”
Masks are also required to be worn by guests while walking through the lobbies and theatres, but can be removed once seated in the auditorium. While the concession stand will be open for food and drink, touchpoints will be limited. The cinema encourages guests to order food through the app or Celebration Cinema’s website to minimize lines and to allow the safe delivery of your items to your seat.
Brewster also explained that their theaters are not accepting cash. They will be accepting credit and debit cards as well as other contactless payment options. He said that they are trying to drive ticket sale traffic to their online and mobile app options. For a temporary time, all online fees are being waived. While it is encouraged that people buy their tickets online, walk in ticket sales are also permitted.
“It’s been a long nearly seven months here of being closed,” said Brewer. “We are chomping at the bit to get back to inviting the public in and spreading some joy and letting people start having some fun again. We are absolutely thrilled to open our doors again.”
Movies and showtimes, food orders, as well as ticket sales can all be accessed on Celebration Cinema’s website or through their mobile app.