Celebration Cinema: Theaters are ready to reopen

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Movie theaters are still waiting for the green light after being closed for months due to coronavirus restrictions.

The mayor, county commissioner and Emily Loeks with Celebration Cinema pushed to reopen theaters at a press conference on Thursday at Studio Park, the movie theater located in downtown Grand Rapids.

Local theaters say they’re ready for people to enjoy a movie and popcorn safely.

“We’re really confident about our ability to host and welcome people well,” Loeks said.

COVID-19 forced Studio Park to close less than six months after the grand opening. Restaurants surrounding it are now back open while the movies remain paused.

“I think there is a perception of movie theaters that they are gigantic venues and really, there is a lack of careful thought to how we actually operate,” Loeks said.

Loeks says movie theaters should be classified with restaurants, not stadiums and multi-thousand person venues. Stressing that although the theater can hold lots of people, each individual theater holds only a few hundred and even less with social distancing.

“There’s a really strong case to be made that both the scale of our theater auditoriums, the height of our ceilings, the great HVAC and air recirculation and a whole number of factors make us as safe or safer than almost all other indoor spaces,” Loeks said.

She points to the more than 40 other states that have reopened without any reports of a super spreading the virus.

Despite local government support to reopen, it’s ultimately up to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“We are ready,” said Loeks.

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