MASON CITY, Iowa - Miss going to the theatre to watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster? Soon in Iowa, you'll be able to get that chance again.
As part of Governor Reynolds' announcement on Wednesday, movie theatres in Iowa will be allowed to reopen as soon as Friday. According to the Governor's order, theatres can operate as long as they limit the number of patrons at 50% of their normal capacity, ensure six feet social distancing, prohibit self-service of food and beverages, and implement other measures like hygiene practices.
It's welcome news for theatres like Cinema West, which has been closed since mid-March. CEC Theatres Vice President Tony Tillemans is making sure safety protocol is implemented at Cinema West and their sister theatres, and notes that it would be straight forward to space people out, as movie goers typically buy their tickets online, and have assigned seating. (CEC Theatres is the parent company of Cinema West.)
While theatres have the option to open their doors on Friday, Tillemans says it will be a bit longer before their 20 theatres in the Midwest, including Mason City's, will reopen, as they're working to step up safety protocol for customers and employees.
"We're working through stuff right now, I can tell you that we're not reopening this weekend. I would say we probably aren't looking to open until the later part of June."
Because of the shift of movie releases being distributed to platforms like Netflix, as well as new movie production being halted due to the pandemic, Tillemans says their theatres will be showing recent releases.
"It will help us with getting our operations intact at that time too, so we'll be able to get our employees back, get people used to how operations are going to be, get customers familiar with the changes that have occurred."