September 2020 Volume 7, Issue 1
The movie business has been heavily impacted by COVID-19. With movie theaters re-opened, it’s time for Sauk students and faculty to safely go back to the multiplex. If you are in the high-risk groups it is best to not risk your life on a leisure activity like movie-going. However, for those not included in that group, you can safely return to the movie theater by following the CDC guidelines of social distancing and wearing a mask. Throughout the pandemic, movie theaters have been struggling to stay afloat. The movie theater chain, AMC, was at high risk of filing for bankruptcy, and many local non-chain theaters had to close for an extended period. Movie-goers must support the theaters by returning to watch something on the big screen. The safest experience and perhaps one you haven’t had before is a theater only three miles from SVCC, the Midway Drive-In.
Watch a movie from the safety of your car, which ensures you won’t have to come in contact with others. All patrons are required to bring a face-covering that you are required to wear whenever not inside the vehicle or when talking with someone outside the vehicle.
Another choice is the recently re-opened AMC Classic Sauk Valley 8 theater in Sterling, four miles from the school. This theater is following AMC Safe and Clean™ procedures that are outlined on their website. A local historic theater close to SVCC is the Sterling Theater, which is about seven miles from the school. This theater has been a staple in downtown Sterling since 1944.
Lori VanOosten, Sterling Theater General Manager, detailed their COVID policies, “Masks are required to enter the building and to walk around the building, through lines, and in bathrooms. Once seated you may remove masks for enjoying your concessions.” VanOosten also talked about implementing an allocated seating system. She described it as, “Assigned seating with every other row not available to purchase.” Lori went on to say, “Additionally, after a single or group purchase, the system automatically closes off the next three seats in the row for social distancing.” Each theater that normally holds 225 is only allowing 50 customers to allow for distancing. As well as cleaning the theaters between each showing. VanOosten also said, “COVID has deeply affected our theater. [Sterling Theater] Closed down for 3-1/2 months we managed to sell curbside popcorn to help pay a few bills. Once opening we have had small crowds and limited movie options with studios pushing out releasing new movies or going straight to on-demand.” Lori VanOosten wants to remind everyone that, “Our local historic theater and all local small businesses need customer support whether purchasing gift cards for future use, curbside popcorn, or returning to movies to survive this pandemic.”
Whether it is a drive-in or an auditorium, I strongly suggest you visit a movie theater.