Movie theaters, bowling alleys reopen starting Monday


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Certain businesses closed under state orders aimed to control the spread of COVID-19 will reopen across Michigan beginning Monday.

Under the revised order by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, movie theaters, bowling alleys and stadiums can reopen with restrictions.

Celebration Cinema is among the businesses planning to reopen Monday. All but three of its cinemas will be welcoming guests, just in time for a new lineup of Christmas Day movies, including “Wonder Woman 1984,” “News of the World,” “Promising Young Woman” and “Monster Hunter.”

“A lot of things will be the same. Recliners, big screen experience and great movies. Differences are we’re encouraging online ticketing and got rid of these fees so there won’t be lines in lobby,” said Emily Loeks, director of community affairs at Celebration Cinema.

Under MDHHS guidelines, Celebration Cinema theaters won’t be offering concessions inside theaters, but movie treats are available for takeout and delivery. Visitors are required to wear face masks and sit apart from people outside their household.

Celebration Cinema will follow additional CinemaSafe guidelines, including:

  • Cutting down the number of guests allowed in each theater.
  • Spacing apart reserved seating between household groups or “pods.”
  • Waiving convenience fees to encourage customers to buy tickets online in advance.
  • Accepting only credit cards and gift cards for in-person purchases, not cash.
  • Requiring staff to wear face masks.
  • Frequently cleaning high-touch surfaces and deep cleaning theaters overnight.

Avid bowlers are back where they’ve wanted to be: On the lanes. Bowlers were out throwing strikes and having a good time at Spectrum Entertainment Center in Wyoming for the first time since ordered to close on Nov. 18.

“It feels good — (after) sitting at home for months at a time — getting out and active and spending time with family and friends, it’s good,” said Erik Dudley, who played competitively at East Kentwood High School and Davenport University.

There are several restrictions though: Alleys can only allow up to 100 people inside and they can’t serve food or drinks.

“This is not going to anything for us financially, maybe help us pay half the electric bill,” said owner Mike Eaton.

Spectrum Entertainment Center underwent a $6 million upgrade before the pandemic. Among the additions are a private area with big screen TVs, which now sits empty. The lack of business is taking a financial toll on Eaton.

“My wife and I have cashed in all of our savings, retirement funds to stay and hope to survive long enough,” Eaton said.

He hopes that he’ll be able to open his doors to more than just 100 people and serve food and drinks after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer provides her next update.

Starting Monday, high school students can head back to in-person classes if their school chooses to do so. However, many districts are on winter break.

Dine-in services at bars and restaurants are still banned. Patrons can still dine outside and get takeout from restaurants. The latest health department order also prohibits indoor sports, contact sports and indoor group fitness classes. Employees are encouraged to work from home if possible.

Because of the new order, the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced fall sports can continue their seasons. Football and volleyball, as well as girls swimming and diving can start their practices Monday.

However, fans won’t be in the stands during games and competitions and student-athletes will have to go through an antigen testing. Football games resume Jan. 2. Volleyball quarterfinals start Jan. 5.

The current MDHHS order expires Jan. 15, but Whitmer said she’ll consider lifting some of the restrictions sooner if the decline in COVID-19 cases continues.


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