For the first time in over two months, Spencer residents can see movies on the big screen Friday when Southpark 7 reopens to the public.
Movie theaters had been closed to the public since March 17 as part of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’s orders to slow community spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19.
Reynolds allowed movie theaters to begin reopening Memorial Day weekend with social distancing guidelines still in place, such as limiting tickets to 50% of seating capacity.
“Friday was the first time in weeks that Iowans had the opportunity to go to a movie,” Reynolds said Tuesday during her daily COVID-19 press conference. “Even though the experience will be different for a while, it’s one that many people have been looking forward to.”
Russ Vannorsdel of Fridley Theatres, the movie theater chain that owns Southpark 7, joined Gov. Kim Rim Reynolds via video during the press conference. He spoke about what the movie theater chain has done to prepare for opening.
Fridley Theatres created policies and procedures for reopening all their locations, Vannorsdel said. The company opened theaters in Carroll and Cherokee last weekend to test operations before opening other theaters.
“We’ve been diligently training our management team on the new protocol,” Vannorsdel said.
Staff will clean, sanitize and disinfect contact surfaces, he added.
Fridley Theatres is asking moviegoers to follow a few guidelines. That includes staying home if sick, limiting groups to six people, accompanying and supervising children, pay with credit cards and practicing social distancing.
“We also encourage guests to wear face coverings, but we will not require them for admittance,” Vannorsdel said.
Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the buildings. Theater staff will be required to wear face masks.
Movie showtimes will be scheduled further apart to keep theater lobbies, concession stands and other common areas less crowded.
“This extra time in between shows will also allow us to thoroughly clean, disinfect and sanitize our auditoriums,” Vannorsdel said.
Showtimes for Southpark 7 can be viewed at the Fridley Theatres website.