Colorado movie theaters will reopen Friday with new COVID-19 protocols

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Movie goers at Cinemark XD in Fort Collins wait in line for concessions.

British author Terry Pratchett once wrote “the whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in 10 minutes after the big picture has started, and no one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.”

If you’ve felt like the last 10 months living with the COVID-19 pandemic has been like a bad movie that you walked into late, no one would blame you, except movies and the pandemic haven’t co-existed well.

Most movie theaters closed down for weeks and months as COVID-19 cases rose and many expected blockbusters were delayed or released to streaming services rather than the big screen.

That’s about to change: Come Friday, we can go back to the movies, if we so choose.

On Monday, Larimer County was among dozens of Colorado counties to move from Level Red to Level Orange on Colorado’s COVID risk dial, meaning movie theaters, restaurants and other venues could reopen at 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer. 

Cinemark and AMC quickly announced plans to welcome moviegoers back on Friday  under strict COVID-19 safety protocols. Cinemark has two theaters in Fort Collins including Cinemark Movie Bistro and XD at Foothills shopping center and at 4721 S. Timberline Road. AMC Classic, 2525 Worthington Circle, will be open three days a week: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, according to its website

Cinemark Bistro XD at Foothills shopping center in Midtown Fort Collins.

Mark Zoradi, CEO of Cinemark, posted a video on the company’s website saying they “wanted to ensure the time was right before they reopened.”

The theater is requiring masks, social distancing and frequent sanitization for theaters, restrooms, halls and lobbies. Showtimes will be staggered to avoid crowding in the halls, bathrooms and lobby, and all high traffic spaces will be sanitized every half hour. Seats next to you will be blocked out after you buy your ticket and ticket prices may be refunded if you become ill after the purchase.

So, if you’ve been waiting to get back to the movies, the theaters will be waiting for you.

Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at patferrier@coloradoan.com. Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.