IDAHO — Going to the movies is a great way to spend a Friday night, but how has COVID-19 impacted the way we watch movies in the theaters?
Movie theaters closed their doors for almost five months due to COVID-19. Majestic Theater in Meridian is one of the Cinemark-owned theaters now open with new safety protocols.
"We have taken great care in outlining enhanced clean and safety protocols which we have named the Cinemark standards," Cinemark Vice President of Investor Relations and Public Relations, Chanda Brashears, says.
According to Cinemark, changes include staggered showtimes and limited capacity. Physical distancing is required throughout the theater, and there is a seat buffer system that automatically blocks seats to keep distance between moviegoers.
"Face masks and gloves will be required for all employees, and we're also requiring face masks of all guests," Brashears says.
Cinemark says they've taken a substantial financial hit while being closed but have been diligent in ensuring a liquidity plan.
"We've got a runway through 2022 at this point and time. With all of the debt that we've taken on, we've got the liquidity for the long haul and that we will be able to welcome moviegoers back for that immersive cinematic experience," Brashears says.
Protocols for a big corporation like Cinemark are similar for locally-owned theaters like The Flicks in downtown Boise.
"We had the Plexiglas put in at the counter between the customers and the employees. All the employees are wearing masks, and our customers are wearing masks. We installed this new system called phenomenal air. It removes viruses, bacteria allergies, and mold," The Flicks owner, Carole Skinner, says.
The Flicks has also started streaming movies online for those who don't feel safe coming in. They say financially, it has been hard, but they are thankful to reopen.
"It's been difficult, and we're excited to be open again. We missed our staff and we missed our customers, and it's been fun the be reopened, but it's also been hard because it's not really busy. We feel like its picking up a little bit, and the cases are down now. We hope it will make a big comeback," Skinner says.
To see how to stream movies from The Flicks, visit their website.