Despite eased rules, many movie theaters will remain closed

VIDEO: Despite eased rules, many movie theaters will remain closed

SEATTLE — As AMC Theatres prepares to open several locations across Washington State, KIRO 7 News learned many other theaters won’t be open anytime soon because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of Gov. Jay Inslee’s revised restrictions, movie theaters will be allowed to have 25% capacity in phase 2 and 50% capacity in phase 3. Customers must wear facial coverings when not eating or drinking..

"I doubt you have anyone wanting to go see “The Avengers” in face masks, so we have to wait for things to get better on that front," said Chris Meyes, manager of Edmonds Theater.

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Empty screens, empty seats and no customers is the status quo for the Edmonds Theater and many others. Owners said COVID-19 is an annoying plot twist that just won’t end.

“Not only has it been a question of when we can reopen physically, but it’s going to be the question of what we’re going to show,” Meyes told KIRO 7.

According to Meyes, part of the problem for so many mom-and-pop theaters is that there are simply no movies out because all the blockbusters have been put on hold.

“I don’t think many people are interested in going to the movies right now,” said Aaron Alhadeff, owner of Majestic Bay Theater in Ballard. "I think it would be an interesting debate if there was “Star Wars,” “Wonder Woman” and all the other blockbusters."

Alhadeff said he is not reopening yet, especially with capacity limits at 25%, while COVID-19 still rages on.

“I don’t know if it’s the perfect time to try to start, right as we enter flu season and as cases have not gone away,” he said.

At Edmonds Theater, movies will be shown again—classic movies, that is.

“It’s been a lot like the twilight zone,” Meyes joked. “I’m glad we’re able to get open for October.”

KIRO 7 called seven mom-and-pop movie theaters in the Puget Sound area. Only Edmonds Theater plans to reopen at this time.

For others, the curtain won’t rise until later on, hopefully during a better storyline.