Governor Phil Murphy has announced that movie theaters can reopen along with indoor dining on Fri., Sept. 4, nearly six months after being closed because of the Coronavirus. But that’s easier said than done, according to Mike Sodano, co-owner of the ShowRoom Cinemas in Asbury Park and in Bradley Beach.
“Three days doesn’t give us a lot of time,” Sodano said, as it involves adjusting for the required social distancing, which sets a limit of 25 percent capacity at each screening. “We have to be sure that it’s safe for our customers and for our employees. We don’t have any fresh popcorn either.”
Then there’s the matter of finding films available for showing. That involves discussions with their distributors to see what’s available and when.
“We will be operating under way different circumstances,” he said.
With capacity limited to 25 percent it’s likely the ShowRoom Cinema in Bradley Beach will reopen first as it has more seating than Asbury Park, where the largest of the three theaters seats 75. Bradley Beach, which opened in May of 2019, seats 340.
Sodano said the reopening will probably be in about two weeks so he and his partner Nancy Sabino can work out all the details. During the shutdown, they have been showing movies online and receive a small percentage of the fee. The films have been popular and Sodano said they will probably continue the online offerings when the theaters reopen.
Sodano also questions the timing of the governor’s announcement for opening theaters by giving them only a few days lead time and asks why some businesses were allowed to open and others were not which means they could not take advantage of the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Opening day for the ShowRoom Cinemas will be announced in a press release and also on Social Media.