Independence Cinema reopening after COVID closures
Sydney Carpenter | News Editor
In February, movie theaters in Oregon were permitted to reopen under the official Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. However, some movie theaters such as the Independence Cinema delayed their reopening, citing concerns for the new strains of COVID-19 and wanting more viable movies to showcase in the theaters.
“The hardest thing on a small business so devastated by these closures would be to reopen only to have to close down again,” said Independence Cinema in a Feb. 23 Facebook post. “We did it this fall, and we could not repeat that scenario and survive.”
However, on March 10 the local theater announced that it would be reopening its doors on April 9.
“This was a very careful decision,” said a March 10 Facebook post, “with lots of planning, waiting and watching. We feel confident that everyone is ready to safely enjoy family entertainment again.”
The current plans for reopening entail operating daily with limited showtimes and adhering to industry-wide safety standards called CinemaSafe. Under these guidelines, all theaters are expected to require staff and patrons to wear masks, social distance audience members, increase ventilation where possible, provide hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content, disinfect the auditorium between showings, train staff on COVID-19 symptoms, make online tickets available for patrons and minimize cash transactions. In each state, theater capacity size varies depending on state governments mandates; in Oregon, it is contingent on a county’s COVID risk level.
As of March 26, Polk County Health officials reported the county qualified for the moderate risk level by having a 2% positivity rate and 72.3 cases per 100,000 people over the course of 14 days. As a result, Independence Cinema will have a maximum capacity of 50%.
At this time, the theater does not have an official schedule for their showings, but according to their Instagram page, they plan to open with “Voyagers,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Nobody,” “Chaos Walking,” “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Tom & Jerry.”
To ensure patron safety, the theater is implementing an RSVP system that can be done either online at www.independencecinema8.com or in person at the ticket counter located outside the theater.
If patrons are not comfortable with watching movies in person, the theater is still offering to-go concessions.
For further information or questions, visit their Facebook page @independencecinema8 or their Instagram @indycinema.
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