ROCK SPRINGS — The Star Stadium movie theater in Rock Springs reopened on Friday with special guidelines to promote employee and public safety.
Movies theaters are caught in an odd position due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Randy Pryde, president of WyoMovies, said, “The biggest issue is that our supply of first-run movies have been interrupted.”
He explained that when a store, such as a jeweler, gets the OK to reopen, all it needs to do is dust off the inventory to reopen.
“Our shelf consists of first-run movies. It is bare and won’t be replenished until the middle of July,” Pryde said.
To combat the challenge of bare shelves, places like the Rock Springs theater are showing “greatest hits” until they can replenish the shelf.
Jonathon Crawford, general manager of the Rock Springs theater, said the classics came from Hollywood studios and the results of a poll on the theater’s Facebook page.
Theater workers want consumers who are reluctant to come to the movies know that they can come when they are comfortable and ready.
“The protocols that we have set up are actually more cautionary than you will find in other places,” Pryde noted.
There is a “Clean Freak Squad” that will be cleaning each seat in between shows. This means there are less screen times and patrons will be more spread out, and this will give the squad plenty of time to clean the entire theater.
There is a also seat gap restriction between parties.
“We have rewritten our ticketing software to automatically create a two-seat gap between each group,” Pyrde said.
The theaters are also having a restriction on the number of people in a group. Groups are limited to six people.
The theater also offers hand sanitizer stations and a “rain check” system.
Pryde said, “If a guest has purchased a ticket in advance and is not feeling well on the day of their show, we are asking them to stay home.”
By using the rain check feature, they can limit the risk of infection and attend a future showing.
Considering how many businesses have been closed or had layoffs, Pryde was excited to say they are bringing everyone back by July 20.
“We are actually looking for new hires by the end of July,” Pryde said.
The most exciting part for Crawford is “wanting Hollywood to put new movies out.”