Movie theaters at risk of closing for good; How you can help save your cinema

Local News

MITCHELL, S.D. (KELO) – For years, movie theaters have played a huge role in creating memorable experiences for audiences. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of visiting the theater could become a memory all together. However, there is a way you might be able to save your cinema.

Often times people take a trip to the cinema for a brief escape from the real world, but lately, there’s been no escape from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re operating, basically, at about 7 to 10 percent of normal volume,” Jeff Logan said.

Logan is the owner the Logan Luxury 5 Cinema in Mitchell, and Dells Theatre in Dell Rapids. They were closed down for a few months, and just recently reopened partially to the public.

“We’re doing so with older movies and smaller crowds,” Logan said.

In efforts to make up for lost business and create a safe alternative, they revived the now-popular Starlite Drive-in.

“It’s doing well, but it can’t carry the expenses of the closed up or partially open indoor theatres,” Logan said.

To keep those safe, they’ve sectioned off rows to keep people at safe distances and are constantly sanitizing high-contact areas

“We have fewer showings spread out apart to give us more time to spray the seats, handrails, armrests, with disinfectant,” Logan said.

For movie lovers who still don’t feel comfortable going back out, there is a way to potentially help keep them and all theatres in business. This is through a new initiative called ‘Save Your Cinemas.’

“We’re asking our customers to write to their congress people, or sign a letter to our congressional delegation asking them to include theatres in rescue efforts and aid packages and so fourth that are directed at those industries affected,” Logan said.

While this could help preserve them financially, Logan says its the moments made off-screen at the theatre that are truly worth seeing.

“We all have fond memories of going to the movies. Our first dates, maybe proposals, whatever. We all have fond memories of our first movie with our parents and so fourth. We would hate to lose that part of American fabric and community fabric,” Logan said.

Right now, both theatres only operate on weekends Friday through Sunday. Logan says that since his business’ closure, 150 people under his employment lost their jobs.

You can sign the petition here to help save your cinema.

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