▶️ Local movie theaters plan to reopen with new social distancing requirements

By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

The movie-going experience will look a bit different to the public when Regal Old Mill 16 theater reopens on July 10.

The theater will have a range of new health and safety measures in place to keep the public safe. Employees will sanitize every auditorium and seat after each movie using electro-static fogging equipment.

Seating capacity will be reduced by half.

Regal will maintain two empty seats between groups to maintain proper social distancing and limit group sizes as required by state or county mandates.

“People are just less likely to be inclined to go to the movie theater anyways or less likely to go with somebody,” Ty Vizenor from Arcata, California, said.

In Regal’s concession area, every other register will be closed, menu offerings reduced and there will be no self-service ketchup, mustard and relish to smear on a hot dog.

Independent movie theater complexes in Madras and Prineville are already open. The Redmond cinemas plan to reopen in early summer but no date has been set.

The Tower Theatre in downtown Bend tweeted it will soon announce its offerings possibly later this week. Capacity and seating requirements may be different, but Executive Director Ray Solley says the Tower’s tradition of hosting world-class performers will continue.

But will the public feel safe in enclosed spaces with the coronavirus pandemic still raging?

“Yeah, I would do that to see a really good movie like Avengers,” said Jackson Stanberry. “If it’s good and I want to see it and my dad wants to see it, I’ll go.”

Nia Carlton of Bend said she’s ready to return to the movie theaters as soon as they open.

“I like the candy and I also just like watching the movies,” Carlton said.

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