The lights are back on and the movies are playing again on the big screen at Highland Cinemas in Glasgow, which reopens Friday after closing in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The eight-screen theater, owned by Marquee Cinemas of Beckley, W.Va., is the first indoor theater in southcentral Kentucky to open since the pandemic began. The Franklin Drive-In reopened late last month.
“Someone has to be first,” Highland Cinemas General Manager Marcus South said. “Everybody here is excited to come back to work. It’s going to be a little slow to start, but we are ready.”
South said the theater is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, as well as adhering to extra company standards to ensure the safety of patrons and employees, such as increased cleaning of high-contact surface areas and reduced seating capacity in each auditorium to allow for social distancing. More time will be scheduled between shows to allow for increased cleaning in the auditoriums.
The company’s website – marqueecinemas.com – features two videos that outline the safety measures patrons should expect at the theaters, which are found in nine states.
Marquee Cinemas advises patrons to stay home if they are sick, feverish or if they have been in contact with anyone who has experienced COVID-19 symptoms with 14 days. Patrons are also asked to practice 6-foot social distancing, cover coughs or sneezes, avoid touching their faces and to wash their hands often.
Highland Cinemas’ opening weekend features recent films such as “The Invisible Man,” “Fantasy Island,” “I Still Believe,” and “Bad Boys for Life,” with new releases not expected to begin until July. Actor Russell Crowe’s “Unhinged” is slated to be released July 1, with director Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” scheduled for July 17 and Disney’s live-action remake of “Mulan” scheduled for July 24.
“Hopefully the first movie is ‘Unhinged,’ ” South said. “Right now, it is up in air if anything is going to come out. People are going to have to show up before they start putting new movies out.”
Regal Cinemas, which owns both theaters in Bowling Green, has yet to announce when it will reopen, although Cineworld – which owns Regal – is reportedly looking to reopen in July.