KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Good news for movie fans! Theaters across West Michigan started to open back up on Friday after seven months of being shut down due to the coronavirus.
It has been seven months since movie theaters closed their doors in west Michigan. Now, moviegoers said they're ready to sit back and watch a film on the big screen.
"We’re pretty excited that it’s back open. It has been a long time coming I think, and we think that we can do it responsibly. These guys are excited to see it, and I am as well," said Robert Taylor, a father taking his kids to the movies.
Taylor said before COVID-19, he and his kids would catch a movie two to three times each month.
Now, they're back feeling safe and ready to see "The War With Grandpa".
"We feel comfortable. I am a stockholder in AMC, and so I read a lot of their data. I think they are doing a lot of things well to make it safe for us," said Taylor.
AMC wasn't the only movie theater opening its doors. West Columbia 7 in Battle Creek was also prepared for guests with new measures in place to keep them safe.
"You’re going to see the staff all masked up and frequent hand washing, also whatever the recommendations are from the CDC and from the local health department, then we’ll be following those. You’re going to see all of your touch points cleaned. There will be things like the refill station for pops will be closed. The kiosks will be closed," said West Columbia 7 Theater's General Manager Greg Faubert.
Customers will enter through one doorway and exit another. Seats are also more spread out to keep in line with distancing guidelines.
"The governor put us at the 20%, so it depends on the size of the auditorium. With the recliners they take up more room, but you can’t beat that comfort. With some of the bigger auditoriums, you might be able to get around 23 or 25 seats or so," said Faubert.
Guests will also be offered sanitizing wipes, and there will be more time for extra cleaning in between movies.
Despite all of the extra precautions, Faubert said guests are already pre-purchasing their tickets.
"People are just excited for something to actually see on the big screen. I think you can only do so much streaming," said Faubert.
Both movie theaters said they're expecting a good turnout for their first weekend back open, and they said safety is their number one priority for both employees and customers.
AMC, Celebration and GQT are all opening locations around west Michigan. If you'd like to find out if your local movie theater is reopened, go to their website for show times and hours.