Local movie theaters reopen with new procedures

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 6:18 PM CDT
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Popcorn is popping and previews are showing again inside several movie theaters across the state.

After being among the first forced to close, two local theaters are reopening their doors with extra precautions.

“[Movies are] a little way to escape from reality and right now we need that escape,” said Erin Fiser, assistant manager at Marcus Theater in La Crosse.

In March, Governor Evers ordered the closure of movie theaters.

Employees like Erin Fiser waited months for her job to be made available again.

“When we first closed, it was kind of like we will be back shortly and then it just kept going, and going and going,” Fiser added. “It was finally like ‘oh, we’re here--yay’ I know I myself am very excited that we’re reopen.”

Marcus Theater in La Crosse started showing a mixture of new and retro movies Friday with an abundance of new procedures and guidelines in place.

“We came up with a great acronym where everyone is a STAR-- We practice Social distancing,” explained James Bryan, general manager of Marcus Theater in La Crosse. “We have Thorough cleaning throughout the facility that you’ll notice almost like a sanitation squad that goes around and is a blend between our ushers and different cleaners that touch those high-touch point areas.”

Pre-ordering tickets and concession items are advised on the mobile App-- even refills can be ordered from inside each theater.

Additionally, Respect is expected for other guests and staff.

At Marcus, a piece of tape is placed on each seat to indicate its been cleaned before use.

Social distancing is being implemented in each theater.

“We block off two seats between everybody,” Bryan said. “We do have opportunities for larger families to take four seats together, but we distance people out about six feet or even larger in some cases.”

The theaters are currently operating at about a 50 percent capacity.

In-depth cleaning takes place after each showing and counters are wiped down at least every 30 minutes.

Masks are required at all times except when eating or drinking and is enforced by management.

For general manager James Bryan business will dictate the need for associates.

Whether a new hire or coming back, everyone is being re-trained.

“We definitely trained our associates because the job has changed, the environment has changed,” Bryan explained. “We do the thorough cleaning that we have to hit those high-touch point areas. We’ve been going through the hiring process as well.”

Micon Cinemas in the Eau Claire area is also reopening with extra cleaning, social distancing, and staggered showtimes with reduced capacity and a mask requirement.

New releases are expected in the coming week as well as bringing back more old favorites to the big screen.

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