Despite very concerning coronavirus numbers in Guilford County and highly restrictive regulations from state and local government, businesses are doing what they can to stay open and generate some revenue.
Area movie lovers have been out of luck for much of 2020, but some local theaters are operating – albeit with major changes in place.
Some theaters – like the Regal Greensboro Grande at Friendly Shopping Center – aren’t open to the public, while others, like Red Cinemas on Battleground Avenue and the Cinemark Brassfield Cinema Ten are showing movies but are doing so with a host of precautions in place.
A manager for Red Cinemas said that it’s difficult to know how many movie-goers will show up on any given day.
“It’s hard to judge staffing,” she said.
She added that a new blockbuster– Wonder Woman 1984 – was hitting theaters this week and that would provide a good deal of information about movie-going in the time of COVID-19.
Some theaters have limited their hours significantly as a strategy. Normally, between Christmas and New Year’s Day – when many people are off work and families traditionally hit the movies – the theaters would run movies from before noon until after midnight.
Now movie-goers often find very limited showtimes.
On Wednesday, Dec. 30, the Cinemark theater at Brassfield Shopping Center, for instance, started showing movies after 3 p.m. and the last movies were wrapping up just after 9 p.m. giving people plenty of time to get home before the statewide 10 p.m. curfew imposed by Gov. Roy Cooper goes into effect.
The theaters have also taken a great many precautions against the virus.
Here’s a statement posted on Facebook by Red Cinemas: “We’ve taken lots of steps to ensure our guests and team members safety including: UVC air filtration, UVC handheld scanners, Electrostatic disinfectant sprayers and disinfection between showings, touchless sanitation stations, social distancing, required masks, universal testing and sentinel testing of team members, daily team health assessments and temperature checks, plexiglass dividers, additional aisles in the theaters, and more.”
All open theaters are also operating at greatly reduced capacity.
Some area theaters are renting auditoriums to patrons for private showings, The buyers can pick from a list of movies including new films that were supposed to be out in 2020 to classic holiday films and other options.
Those who buy out a whole auditorium can usually invite about 20 of their friends and still meet the state’s capacity guidelines for theaters.