Going out to the movies will again be an option in Salmon Arm.
Closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salmar Grand will be reopening its doors to the public on Wednesday, July 3.
In preparation, Salmar manager Joel De Boer said guidelines were submitted to, and received approval from Interior Health. These will be in place in conjunction with guidelines from Worksafe BC to for the health and safety of staff and patrons.
For moviegoers, this means maintaining physical distancing while in line outside and inside the building. Inside, there will be only two lines for tickets and the concession. Behind the concession counter, each station will be staffed to avoid crossover.
Ushers will be greeting moviegoers and explaining revised seating procedures.
De Boer explained that because the Grand is a multiplex, provincial restrictions on gatherings of 50 or more people pertain to the individual theatres within.
“With number one, that’s not a problem because there’s 175 seats in there,” said De Boer. “With 2, 3 and 4 being smaller theatres, we put our maximum up to 32.”
Inside the theatres, every second row of seats will be available for use, and moviegoers will be expected to keep a minimum two-seat distance from other individuals or groups.
Because of the reduced seating, the Salmar is encouraging people to buy their movie tickets in advance online.
“It’s not necessary but you can,” said De Boer. “When you are purchasing your tickets online you’re guaranteed a seat when you come here. And it’s kept in real time. However, you can come down here and hopefully there’s seats still available.”
Those who are looking to purchase tickets or concession items at the theatre are encouraged to use debit or credit cards, though De Boer said cash will also be accepted.
Screenings will be limited to matinees and individual evening showings
For opening week, De Boer had tentatively booked the following: 1917, Bad Boys for Life, Trolls World Tour and the classic, Grease. Screenings will be limited to matinees and single evening showings, with staggered times.
During the closure, the theatre was able to complete some planned upgrades including new tills, as well as new laser projectors and an updated sound system. The result will be a cleaner, sharper picture and Dolby 7.1 sound in all of the Salmar’s theatres.
“From what I’ve seen it’s awesome,” said De Boer, who is looking to bring in Star Wars fan favourite The Empire Strikes Back in July to try out on the upgraded equipment.
No decision has been made yet on the reopening of the Salmar Classic.
To buy tickets, movie times and more, visit salmartheatre.com.