Local movie theaters allowed to reopen, but choosing to take their time

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Following Governor Mike DeWine’s announcement that many entertainment venues could reopen, some local theaters said they were excited but would be taking things slower.

The Neon said their target reopen date is July 1.

The now-furloughed manager, Jonathan McNeal, said they still need time to finish some construction projects to help with social distancing, order films, and properly train staff on what the new movie theater experience will look like.

McNeal said the Neon has been closed since mid-March and furloughed all employees since May 1, but he said they’ve made good use of their time.

“We had a new roof put in a couple weeks ago, and lots of new stuff in the bathrooms, it’s all hands-free, sinks, toilets and soap dispensers, so that very little contact needed throughout the space,” said McNeal.

He said when they reopen their capacity will be down to about 25 percent and they will ask movie goers to wear a mask until they’re seated.

He said they’re building a new ticket window, will increase time between shows to deep clean, and block off every other row of seats.

“We’ll have ushers to tell them their party can sit along the wall or the aisle, and then fill in accordingly so that they don’t take the middle of the row and immediately kind of make that row not available for anyone else,” said McNeal.

He said these changes will cost them more money but will make the customers feel safe.

Both the Neon and Plaza Theater in Miamisburg said they’re excited to reopen, but one other hurdle they’re facing to reopen is even getting films from the studios.

“We are looking for our first films right now, and that’s something else, you can’t just open a movie theater next week if you don’t have movies to play,” said McNeal. “Most theaters, if they’re able to reopen next week will have very little new material.”

The Plaza Theater told 2 NEWS when they have a plan and set dates, they will post them on Facebook.

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