Pullman’s Village Centre Cinemas reopens today, almost a year after closing in March due to the pandemic.
The cinema will only be open weekends — Friday, Saturday and Sunday — for now, but Sean Warner, chief operating officer of Village Centre Cinemas, said he expects to expand hours when more movies are released in April.
The cinema was open for about six weeks combined after the first closing in March, Warner said. In the summer, it reopened but closed again after only a month because of COVID-19 restrictions. The cinema was shut down a second time in November after reopening briefly.
Warner said he wants to make sure the same thing does not occur this time.
He said the cinema and its employees were able to manage financially by applying to business grants and receiving unemployment. Employees in management positions remained on payroll since the first closing. About 22 employees are currently working.
Patrons are expected to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines, Warner said.
In the theaters, every other row of seats is sectioned off, Warner said. Patrons are also expected to leave a couple of empty seats between them and other people in the row if they are not part of the same group.
“Say there’s a family of five to come in, they all can sit together,” he said.
Cinema employees are implementing COVID-19 safety guidelines, including mask use, social distancing and frequent sanitization, Warner said. There are sanitizing stations in the lobby, social distancing floor markers and counter plastic shields.
Employees are wearing gloves and face masks at all times and sanitizing every theater between each movie showing, Warner said. They also clean commonly used surfaces like the drink and butter machines.
“I think we have taken the necessary steps to make the movie-going experience as safe as possible,” he said. “We just want to try to give our patrons … an opportunity if they would like to get out and do something different.”
Showtimes can be found on the cinema’s website.