Thursday, June 4, 2020

State Wayne owners plan for ‘clean’ reopening

Owners of the State Wayne Theatre are hoping for a re-opening July 1.
A spokesman from Phoenix Theatres, which has owned the historic Michigan Avenue theater since 2000, said the past two decades have had difficult challenges typical of operating a small business, but “none of these problems have been as serious as the current COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This challenge was completely unexpected, and affects literally everyone in the world,” explained Cory Jacobson, owner of Phoenix Theatres. “We have faith in the human need to interact with one another and the art we present at the movies. It is unique to our American experience, as movies are one of our greatest cultural contributions to the world. Our business is both local and very social by nature and uniquely disadvantaged in a pandemic crisis.”

The movie industry is not only closed at local theaters, but all production has stopped on new feature films as well, he added. The film studios have responded by literally rescheduling all films beginning later this summer and in some cases 2021.  As the film industry grapples with these unprecedented problems, Phoenix Theatres decided to proactively shift their focus to offer solutions that could make a difference, he explained..
“Our management group has spent the past few months working on developing a comprehensive plan with CDC guidance to carefully re-open our theatres,” Jacobson said. “We are hopeful that all of our locations will be able to open by July 1 to support the return of Hollywood's summer blockbuster movies to the big screen.”
“Prior to our re-opening, we will be traveling to our theatre locations in Iowa, Massachusetts, and Michigan with our small specialized training group to individually work with every employee in the company,” said Sheena Hohman, director of employee training and development. “This will ensure a complete understanding of the importance of following our newly-established guidelines for operations. By providing our employees with the tools and training necessary we can establish a safe movie-going environment for both our employees and guests.”
Phoenix Theatres plans to incorporate both CDC and local government standards on how a theater should safely operate. Working closely with the National Association of Theatre Owners and with the help of our management and employees we have established new safety protocols for every aspect of the theatre, Hohman said. 
“We will have social distancing guidelines in all the common areas and most importantly in the theatre auditoriums. The seating layout will automatically be configured within our reserved seating computer software, so that customers will not be within 6 feet of other guests not in their family group.     Each employee will wear masks and other protective equipment and ticketing and concessions transactions have been streamlined to minimize tough points.
“In between each showing, theater workers will use a food grade disinfectant spray on all seats that removes 99.99 percent of all viruses on surfaces within 30 seconds.
“We will be using this disinfectant spray on high touch points throughout the building including the restrooms and concession areas,” she said. “In addition, hand sanitizer stations will also be provided for customer use throughout the theater.”