Joe Kelly: I Went to The Movies and You Can Too
My wife and I went to a movie. Not a drive-inn, not on our couch, but a real honest-to-goodness movie in a real movie theater.
Friday night, we went to the Tilton Square Theatre in Northfield. I had heard they were opening, and we made the decision to go right away - the first night.
Are they "allowed" to open? Well, technically, I don't know. The theatre's owner seems to think so. There were a couple Northfield police cars in the parking lot when we arrived, but that's all we saw or heard as far as any enforcement or regulations go.
(Let me jump in here and say that I recently flipped my opinion of the whole re-opening thing. I think that parts of New Jersey - our part here in the South Eastern part of the state - should open. Our rates are down - they've actually never been high. It's time to GO!)
After reading the theater's "Reopening Statement" that explains their cleaning process and social distancing guidelines, I felt safe enough to try it.
Now, I'm not sure I would go into just any movie theater, but the Tilton Square has been recently remodeled with big comfy recliner chairs, and there are far less seats in each theater than there used to be.
We chose to see "Invisible Man" - and the theater has a "regular" capacity of 106 people.
We were required to purchase our tickets online (they were only six bucks each!) and the process was very easy. We had to pick our own seats - and we couldn't get close to seats that already have been purchased.
When we arrived at the theater, I just showed my phone to an employee at the box office. He scanned the bar code that I had been emailed with my receipt and we were handed our tickets. Yes, the concession stand was also open.
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. (We did notice a couple groups of teenage friends that did sit together. Each group had about 6 or 8 kids.)
I should note that all the staff members we saw and encountered wore masks. Most people did wear masks in and out of the theater itself - except for a few of those aforementioned teens.
All in all, it was a good experience - and evening "out", and we certainly will do it again.
We certainly felt comfortable as far as the social distancing is concerned, especially when compared to trips to the convenience and grocery stores.