It’s showtime at Harkins Theaters

Theaters re-open with new health and safety standards


Lindsey Harrison

It’s the same fun it always was–just don’t forget a mask!

Harkins Theaters, along with other movie theaters, recently reopened with enhanced health and safety protocols. Movie theaters have never been known for their cleanliness, as a result of this, they were one of the first businesses to close after COVID-19 hit. In an effort to generate revenue and provide customers with a sense of normalcy amid all the chaos, Harkins reevaluated their practices and standards and created a new movie-going experience, prioritizing the health and safety of their patrons.

Upon arrival, buying tickets is no different. If you do not want to wait in a socially distanced line or have to awkwardly talk to the cashier in a muffled voice, tickets can be purchased online or in the Harkins app. At this point, masks are required to be worn (they can only be taken off for eating and drinking).

In a contact-free process, ticket stubs are now scanned instead of being torn. Patrons can still purchase drinks and snacks at the concessions counter. Littered throughout the theater are hand sanitizer stations and plexiglass barriers, protecting both customers and employees.

In the theater itself, the freshly cleaned seats are distanced two seats apart in a checkerboard-like fashion. These are lounge seats, so it is a good distance between the seats. In some cases, the available seats are not completely filled (there were only three other people in the theater when we went).

While it seems grueling to wear a mask for an extended period of time, it was easy to forget a mask was even on. Using a mask made with comfortable material, combined with the cool climate of the theater allowed for a somewhat pleasant experience. The excitement and fun of seeing a movie, along with better peace of mind, far outweighed the minor inconvenience of wearing a mask.

While the experience was great, there are definitely some inconveniences and disadvantages that come along. To start, because of COVID, movie production has been delayed and some studios have held off on releasing their finished movies out of fear for poor ticket sales. This leads to a poor selection of movies (we ended up having to watch Sonic The Hedgehog). If you are looking for quality cinema, just stay home and check out some of the on-demand releases.

Additionally, because the seats are automatically distanced parties greater than two people will be split up. So, don’t plan on this to be a bonding experience for 15 of your closest friends–or even three.

While the movie experience was different and had a couple more inconveniences–so is everything nowadays. If you are just looking to get out of the house, or want a sense of normalcy in these crazy times, check out Harkins Theaters for a safe movie-going experience.