Many Coastal Empire movie theaters remain closed despite being allowed to open

Movie theaters big and small still worried about spread of COVID-19 to patrons and staff

Many Coastal Empire movie theaters remain closed despite being allowed to open

COASTAL EMPIRE, Ga. (WTOC) - Restaurants weren’t the only businesses given the go ahead to begin the reopening process Monday in Georgia.

Movie theaters were also given the green light from Governor Kemp.

The Mars Theatre in Springfield and Royal Cinemas & IMAX in Pooler may provide vastly different movie going experiences, but what they had to offer movie goers Monday was the exact same.

The Mars Theatre in Springfield and Royal Cinemas & IMAX in Pooler sat empty yet again Monday.

Taking a stand along with many other theaters across the state.

"We just thought it was in the best interest of our patrons and our staff that we wait a few more weeks,” said Mars Theatre Director Allison Newberry.

“The number one reason (to remain closed) is the health and safety of my patrons and my staff,” added Royal Cinemas owner Falgun Patel.

Putting the health of others above their financial concerns.

Concerns that are very real for the Mars.

“We rely on admissions and concession sales as a majority of our revenue.”

Luckily, they do get help through grants and donations, but Newberry says even if they had considered opening, they couldn’t.

“We donated all our supplies to the local EMS, so, we have nothing here to open the doors back up and even function.”

Another issue for both Newberry and Patel that would make opening right now unrealistic.

{“Hollywood is not releasing any new movies right now,” said Patel.

No new movies means no motivation to get patrons through the doors right now.

Even if they could both Patel and Newberry fear it’d be a risky situation.

“With our size theatre, solution distancing guidelines are going to be tough,” said Newberry.

“Theater is a mass gathering so I don’t think it’s safe,” adds Patel.

The old theater adage “the show must go on” maybe for once doesn’t apply.

Or perhaps, they hope, it’s just a long intermission.

As for reopening Newberry said since the Mars is city run it will follow city guidelines with the earliest opening date being June 1.

As for Royal Cinemas, they’re staying flexible and will be ready to open when they feel it’s safest.

Patel did tell me once open they will be blocking off spaces to keep patrons socially distanced and will spend an hour after every show disinfecting each theater.

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