Days After Defying the State, Tilton Square Theater Closes
Less than a week after opening in defiance of Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order for movie theaters to be closed due to COVID-19, Tilton Square Theater in Northfield is no longer open.
philly.com reports the theater's owners received three summonses in the mail from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and decided to close voluntarily. In the article, owner Brett Denafo told reporter Amy S. Rosenberg, "They didn’t shut me down. I decided to shut down. I talked to the prosecutor’s office and said, I’m not going to open today. I changed my mind."
On June 5th, the theater posted on its Facebook page that it would be opening that night and had numerous health practices in place, including spaced seating in each theater.
"The CDC states that, “LARGE VENUES (e.g…movie theaters…) can operate under strict physical distancing protocols.” For those of you who don’t know us, please give us the opportunity to show you that following strict protocols is what we’ve always done. Those CDC guidelines and our history of strict protocol make us very well suited to safely welcome you Back," said theater management in their post.
A Townsquare Media South Jersey employee, Cat Country 107.3 morning show host Joe Kelly, saw a movie at the theater on the night it reopened and posted his account:
We were required to wear masks in and out of the theater, but we were told we could remove them once we were in our seats - which is what we did. Once inside the theater, we were very comfortable for our safety. Everyone was very spaced apart and the people were very friendly. You were only permitted to sit in your own seats - and, of course, you could sit next to your family or friends.
Gov. Murphy commented about the theater in his daily press conference today and said, "It did not open today. We’re not trying to big foot people. Inside, sedentery, no ventilation, close proximity is hard. Will we get there? Yes. We hope to give guidance sooner than later,” according to philly.com.
(Editor's note: Tilton Square Theater is owned by Town Square Entertainment and is not connected to Townsquare Media, owners of a group of radio stations in the Atlantic City area.