Michigan opens movie theaters

Michigan movie theaters reopen on Oct. 9 with added precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19

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Danielle M Carlisi

The pandemic still lingers, but Michigan movie theaters open on Oct. 9 with new safety procedures in place. Movie goers must wear masks and social distance. “I’d feel safe going [to movie theaters] if everyone else abides by the rules,” junior Christina Gasiewski said.

Danielle M Carlisi, Social Media Manager

After months of patiently waiting on the verge of bankruptcy, movie theaters get the OK to reopen.

“Coming from a person with asthma and who gets sick very easily, I don’t think I’ll ever feel safe enough [to go to theaters] while all this is going on,” junior Christina Gewseski said.

On Sept. 25, Governor Gretchen Whitmer passed an executive order to allow movie theaters to reopen on Oct. 9 with added safety precautions to ensure the safety of individuals.

The manager of Emagine theaters refused to comment due to confidentiality reasons.

Some safety precautions include: all individuals need to wear a mask when not eating or drinking, surfaces must be wiped down, individuals must remain six feet apart at all times, self-serve services will be closed and theaters must keep a record of every person that enters the building. Guests refusing to give their name and phone number will be denied entry.

“[Wearing a mask at the theater] is not really [uncalled for]. We have to wear masks everywhere else anyway,” senior Erin VandenBrink said.

To ensure guests’ safety, some theater owners added their own safety procedures on top of Gov. Whitmer’s order. Emagine movie theaters trained employees on their new procedures and will stagger showtimes to lessen the crowd in the lobby.

“To me, it depends on the theater. If we look at a company like Emagine where they have these up to date theaters, they could stay up to date on sanitization of chairs and theaters,” senior Matthew Schultheis said.

Unlike Emagine theaters, MJR movie theaters will place “welcome attendants” at their entrance to allow guests to ask any questions they have about their new guidelines and to ensure every customer wears their mask properly. They spent six months planning their reopening.

Every auditorium will be cleaned and sanitized at MJR theaters in between showings, according to mjrtheaters.com.

Due to the lack of new content for theaters, many of them will show classic and popular movies from the past along with new movies like “Tenet” and “New Mutants”.

“I think [movie theaters] should wait until new movies start coming out [to reopen],” Vandenbrink said.

To draw people to the theater, Emagine theaters will offer free movies to frontline workers.

They will offer free movies from Oct. 9-16  to workers in various occupations including medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, public works and more, according to emagine-entertainment.com.

Many people question whether or not going to movie theaters is safe during a pandemic which could lead to a lack of revenue for theaters that forces them to shut down again.

“Personally, I’m excited to see where things will go for the future,” Shultheis said, “But at the end of the day we need to be aware and careful as to help each other slow the spread and take hold of COVID-19.”