Following more than six months of closure, Celebration Cinema theaters have turned on the lights, heated up the popcorn poppers and once again opened their doors for cinema lovers. The company gradually began to reopen theaters on October 9, with staffing being ramped back up and as an increasing number of new movies became available from Hollywood studios.
Among the first location to reopen are Celebration Cinema at Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids, Celebration Cinema North GR, Celebration Cinema Rivertown in Grandville, Celebration Cinema Lansing, Celebration Cinema Crossroads in Portage and Cinema Carousel in Muskegon. In upcoming weeks, folks could anticipate openings for Mount Pleasant, Benton Harbor and Celebration South GR.
"We've been working toward this day in collaboration with our entire industry," said JD Loeks, President, Studio C. "We fully believe in the value of gathering around stories, art and music. We appreciate the importance of getting the details right to provide safety and comfort for our team and guests."
With new movies being released simultaneously across the country and around the globe, all eyes have been on theaters in the 48 states already allowed to reopen. Thankfully, precautionary steps theaters have taken have so far, Celebration Cinema notes, have proven to be highly effective.
Many theater companies, including Celebration Cinema, have committed to follow CinemaSafe, a voluntary set of health and safety guidelines—directly reviewed by Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Matthew Sims, one of Michigan's leading epidemiologists—that go above and beyond those enforced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health departments of most states.
According to Celebration Cinema, theaters committing to CinemaSafe guidelines are proceeding responsibly, in accordance with the principles identified as best practices, and are deemed as safe as or safer than many businesses that have already reopened in Michigan.
Though much of the theater experience will feel familiar, guests should expect a few adjustments for better efficiency and protection of guests and staff:
- Physical distancing measures will include reduced seating capacity, in accordance with CDC and local health department guidelines. Reserved seating will automatically space groups apart from each other.
- Celebration Cinema staff will use personal protective equipment, including face masks. Guests are required to wear masks, though they may be removed when a guest is seated and enjoying their popcorn and other movie snacks.
- All customers are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance, online or via the Celebration Cinema app. Online convenience fees are temporarily waived to minimize lines.
- Celebration Cinema will not be accepting cash for payment. Guests should plan for online, credit card or gift card purchases only.
- Frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces will be ongoing, with deep cleaning happening overnight.
- Movie treats will still be available! Guests could avoid lines by purchasing on the Celebration Cinema website or app for delivery direct to their seats.
The timing for Michigan's movie theater reopenings coincides with the excitement of some new Hollywood film releases, which began rolling out nationally and internationally in September.
"Gathering around story is a fundamental human experience and one that is increasingly important," said Loeks. "We are eager to return to serving that purpose.
"People are itching to get out of their house and share a new experience with each other. We've worked hard to ensure that it will be a good one."
More details and frequently asked questions may be found online at Celebration Cinema.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.
Photo courtesy of Celebration Cinema.