After three months of shutdowns, movie-goers can finally sit back, relax and enjoy a show again in downtown Victoria.
The Capitol 6 theatre reopened its doors on Friday and welcomed patrons back with some newer films as well as some classics.
“Psychologically it just feels great to be open again,” said Andrew Golin, Capitol 6 chief executive. “There’s definitely a pent up demand so I think people will come out just wanting to get out of the house and go see a movie.”
With a handful of his U.S. theatres also closed in response to COVID-19, Golin said weathering the pandemic for the last three months “hasn’t been a fun experience.”
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Since the film industry isn’t releasing any new shows to theatres, the Victoria theatre will be relying on classics to get up and running again. On Friday, Capitol 6 began showing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and will continue showing the rest of the series week by week.
Other films playing at Capitol 6 range from the original Ghostbusters and Jurassic Park to the newer Irresistible and The Hunt. Golin said they had a look at what films are doing well at other theatres and went with those.
The theatre’s general manager Steve Kallsen said it feels good to be back after the building sat empty for three months. He said there were some challenges in figuring out the logistics to keep people safe during the pandemic but that they’ve managed to implement all necessary precautions.
Staff members at the theatre will have their temperature checked at the beginning of their shift and will be wearing a mask and gloves to be changed as needed. There will also be plenty of hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies available and Plexiglass has been installed in areas as well.
In the theatres, every other row of seats is closed, leaving about 12 feet of space between rows. Groups looking to see a movie together can buy as many tickets as they’d like in a continuous row. The booking system will automatically block off two seats to the left and right of those a patron has chosen.
The theatre is encouraging people to go to its website and purchase tickets online so there is no transaction required at the box office. Regular concessions will also be offered so movie-goers can still enjoy some buttery popcorn with a show.
“It’s really exciting to be back at work,” Kallsen said. “It just feels great to get up and going again.”
On Friday, many people had already began booking their tickets online and were calling in to see if the theatre was really open, Kallsen said. Both Kallsen and Golin said they hope to see more visitors come back to safely enjoy a show moving forward.
“It’s a way to escape,” Golin said. “I hope customers feel comfortable enough to come see a show.”
SilverCity Victoria on Tillicum Road has also reopened with COVID-19 safety measures in place, while its other two theatres downtown and on the West Shore remain closed.