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Movie theaters reopening amid pandemic with heightened safety measures, requirements

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ASCENSION PARISH- Malco Cinema in Gonzales reopened on Friday, June 26 with new safety measures in place to keep movie-goers healthy and safe amid the pandemic.

Movie theaters were among the countless businesses and entertainment venues to close its doors in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Gonzales cinema's reopening comes in Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan. With a recent, concerning trend in more cases, the company has added additional precautions to its operation.

Malco is just one of the few movie theater companies to test the waters in the early stages of reopening.

Karen Melton, Vice President of Malco Theaters, says the company saw closures coming at the beginning of COVID-19's global spread, but closing for months at a time was unexpected.

"We will be cleaning between each show, cleaning chairs, armrests, and cupholders. Then each night, we will do deep cleaning," Melton says.

Plexiglass will serve as a protective barrier between customers and employees, who are all clothed with face coverings. Customers will be required to wear masks as well.

Social distancing markers can be found on the ground for movie-goers to follow while standing in line at the ticket or refreshment counter.

Upon entry, customers will have their temperature taken and find only half of the seats inside of the theater are available.

Roxson Welch brought her grandson and his friend to the newly reopened cinema Friday morning, excited to get out of the house.

"It's great, but we're still prepared. We brought hand sanitizer, and we've got masks on everybody, so we feel completely prepared," Welch said.

While the overall movie theater experience is much different than before the global spread of COVID-19, many, like Welch, are just grateful to watch a film on the big screen.


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