MERIDIAN, Idaho — The COVID-19 pandemic force movie theaters to change the way they operate and the services they provide to moviegoers.
“Quite frankly people still don’t know we are open,” Daniel Jividen, General Manager at Village Cinema in Meridian said. “The movie selections have changed quite a bit. A lot of the movies have been postponed to 2021.”
Jividen is optimistic people might be want to see a movie on the big screen as new theatrical films are scheduled to premiere on Christmas Day.
“We got Wonder Woman (1984) coming out, Croods recently came out and a different selection of movies. We’ve been steady, and it’s getting busy this week for sure,” Jividen said.
The pandemic pushed the Village Cinema to close from March to August. After reopening, it had to implement several safety regulations and disinfecting guidelines.
“We require masks throughout the lobby, throughout the hallways anytime you leave the auditoriums,” Jividen said.
It also had to limit the amount of people inside the auditorium to comply with six-foot protocols and one of the struggles the theater is facing at the moment, It’s recruiting employees.
“In March we had 132 employees. We currently have about 26 employees, so we are going to run through the holiday season with less than 30 employees” Jividen said.
On Tuesday, the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) applaud the efforts federal leaders made to include museums, live entertainment venues, small to mid movies, and live theaters in the new $900 billion economic COVID-19 relief package. $15 billion dollars is being set aside to aid those types of struggling businesses.
The President and CEO OF NATO said:
“With multiple vaccines beginning to roll out, we see a bright light at the end of a very dark tunnel. There is a very real chance that our business can begin to return to normal in the spring. This bipartisan agreement, shepherded by Senators Schumer, Cornyn, and Klobuchar, means that the vast majority of small and mid-size U.S. movie theaters and their employees will have the resources to make it through to the end of that tunnel. We urge its immediate implementation.”
It’s unclear if Village Cinema would receive aid from the new stimulus package, but Jividen hopes for the best.
"We hope the vaccine definitely gives people more confidence to come out to the theater," he said.