(WWJ) Emagine, along with other movie theaters around metro Detroit, is reopening next week after an extended shutdown due to COVID-19.
Under an executive order signed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, movie theaters and performance venues can open on Friday, Oct. 9, provided they operate at reduced capacity, and comply with other safety guidelines.
So what should theater-goers expect?
Emagine CEO Paul Glantz said they're busy preparing buildings and staff to make sure that all the necessary cleaning, sanitizing and social distancing protocols will be in place.
Masks will be required to enter, and theaters will only be up to 20% full — with two vacant seats between unrelated groups.
"And in doing so, and I actually measured this on Saturday, we'll create seven feet in all directions from any one party compared to another," Glantz said. "Folks can feel comfortable that when they take their masks down to enjoy their snacks or their drinks, they're certainly not sitting on top of some folks they don't know."
Glantz said the public can expect theaters to offer fewer first-run titles, given the lack of production during the pandemic.
"What we're gonna do is we're gonna have more showtimes of the same film," Glantz explained. "So folks will have an opportunity to see films in a distanced fashion, so that they'll feel comfortable, but there won't be quite, perhaps the variety of films we might have had just a year ago."
Glantz anticipates that patrons will comply with the new rules, and not make trouble.
"We expect folks to demonstrate the golden rule: Do unto others as they would want done to themselves," Glantz said. "And with that in mind I really don't anticipate any major challenges. You know, the vast, vast majority of our guests are very well-behaved, are very gentile. And I expect we will see even more of that when we reopen."
Glantz said Emagine is also rolling out a new app that allows customer to order their popcorn and other concessions before they arrive, and have their food or beverage delivered to their seat.