Folks looking for a cinematic escape from COVID-19 will soon have an option to see the latest from Hollywood.
Premiere Cinemas in Greenwood will reopen its doors to moviegoers Sept. 4. However, the movie experience will be a little different than usual.
“Everybody in the building will have to wear a mask,” Don Massingill, regional director for Premiere Cinemas, said.
He said patrons will be required to wear a mask as they move within the building, however, they will be able to remove their mask while eating popcorn seated in a theater. Staff will also be required to wear a mask, Massingill said.
Capacity will be limited to 50% to follow Gov. Henry McMaster’s executive order, he said.
He said by using reserved seats, theater staff can space out customers based on how many are in each group of moviegoers. Staff will also spray down theater chairs and common spaces between showings.
Massingill said self-service options at concessions are being temporarily suspended to reduce the amount of contact customers have with high traffic surfaces.
Staff will also clean bathrooms and door handles every 30 minutes, he said.
“To make sure everything has been cleaned thoroughly,” Massingill said.
When the theater reopens in September, moviegoers can expect to see limited hours.
“To start with we are probably only going to open on weekends,” Massingill said.
Massingill said September is generally the slowest month for movie theaters and with very few new movie releases he doesn’t expect 2020 to change that assessment.
He said the movie theater will be open for matinees but hours will probably be determined based on demand.
Some new movie releases are scheduled.
“Tenet,” directed by Christopher Nolan, is scheduled to release the weekend Premiere Cinemas is targeted to reopen, Massingill said. Another movie, “Unhinged,” is also scheduled to release at the same time.
Massingill said the theater will show these new movies in multiple theaters because of the reduced capacity in each theater.
He also said older movies will be shown at a reduced rate.
“Since Hollywood will at least allow us to drop the price on the older movies,” Massingill said.
Movie theaters were allowed to reopen at 5 p.m. Monday after McMaster issued an executive order allowing for large gatherings to resume. The executive order said no more than 250 people or 50% of capacity as determined by the fire marshal. Also, all persons must wear face coverings and no alcohol sales can take place after 11 p.m.
Theaters and other businesses deemed nonessential were ordered to close on April 1.
“We are definitely excited about reopening,” Massingill said. “I don’t know if people will come or not but we hope they do.”