Today is the beginning of Phase 3 of the Massachusetts reopening process after the nearly four month total shutdown of nearly everything since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in March. Phase 3 includes theaters reopening under strict guidelines.
A quick look around the MetroBoston area finds only ONE cinema that is open for business as of today – Gloucester Cinema reopens today with three recent classics, the live action Jungle Book, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and The Perfect Storm. All social distancing and disinfecting protocols will be in place for their return to screening films.
Most of the independent theaters in the Metro Boston community, as well as a number in Western MA and Cape Cod, are planning a reopening sometime this month, but they will be on a staggered schedule at best. Most of them are communicating regularly with their patrons via newsletters, and posts on Facebook and Twitter; many are also running virtual cinema films for patrons to enjoy at home, with each theater offering up different films at different times; purchasing one of these virtual films helps support the theater in its time of need. As of this writing, Lexington Venue is the only indie theater that has announced an official reopening date of this Friday, July 10. Theaters that are setting a solid opening date are urged to contact eCinemaBoston so that we can pass that news on to our readers, and remember, we normally cover a 50 mile in-state radius, but for right now we’re covering ALL of MA, so if you’re on the Cape or anywhere from the New Hampshire or Vermont Border to the Rhode Island or Connecticut border, we want to know if you’re opening!
Of the large chains, only Showcase Cinemas is gearing up for opening sooner rather than later; they mentioned in a press release last week that they will begin a slow opening rollout today, starting with just a few theaters in New York and Connecticut. The rest of the major chains in the Metro Boston area – AMC, Regal, Landmark, Showplace Icon, and Arclight – are planning late July openings at the earliest in areas where the pandemic has calmed down as allowed according to state-by-state restrictions. Smaller New England chains, such as Flagship Cinemas, South Shore Cinemas, FEI Theatres (Somerville and Capitol), Cinemagic Theatres, O’Neil Theatres, Apple Cinemas, and Entertainment Cinemas, also remained closed as of today.
Drive-ins in MA – and there aren’t many of them – are open for business. In our official coverage area, that includes the Mendon Twin Drive-In, the Leicester Drive In, and the Wellfleet Drive In. A number of pop-up drive-ins are also available throughout the area, including at Kowloon in Saugus and at least one on Martha’s Vineyard. Most of the drive-ins are opting for classic films over the few releases coming out to bring people in. Jaws, Jurassic Park, the Star Wars and Harry Potter films, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show have been the most popular screenings, not just here but throughout the country.
Stay tuned to eCB over the next few days and weeks; we will bring you news as each theater announces reopening dates in our area. Remember when visiting a cinema that MA state mask laws ARE still in place – so mask up, keep to social distancing requirements, and be ready for an interesting and unique experience at your local cinema. And for those who are making a fuss about mask wearing, I offer up this – remember, Americans watch each others back. And that means WEARING A MASK. Whether you think it’s a good idea or not, not doing so endangers YOUR life and the lives of others. So remember to watch your neighbors back and WEAR A MASK!