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Friday, October 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane-area movie theaters to reopen with reduced capacity

The AMC River Park Square 20 in downtown Spokane, closed since mid-March because of state pandemic-related restrictions, is reopening Oct. 16.  (Libby Kamrowski/The Spokesman-Review)
The AMC River Park Square 20 in downtown Spokane, closed since mid-March because of state pandemic-related restrictions, is reopening Oct. 16. (Libby Kamrowski/The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane-area movie theaters are preparing to reopen for the first time since mid-March after Gov. Jay Inslee announced this week he’s easing pandemic-related restrictions.

Inslee announced Tuesday that movie theaters will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity in counties in Phase 2 and 50% capacity in Phase 3 of the state’s Safe Start reopening plan.

Theatergoers will be required to maintain 6 feet of social distancing between households and wear face masks at all times, except when eating or drinking.

AMC River Park Square 20 is reopening Oct. 16, according to the company’s website. The downtown theaters have been closed since mid-March because of pandemic-related restrictions.

Magic Lantern Theatre manager Joe Sheehan said in an email the downtown theater needs equipment serviced before reopening, which is anticipated to occur in two to three weeks.

“We are looking into all of our COVID guidelines and searching new movies,” he said in the email.

The Garland Theater and Village Centre Cinemas did not respond to requests for comment on reopening dates.

Northern Quest Resort & Casino has no immediate plans to reopen its Movie & Dinner theater, spokeswoman Julie Holland said in an email.

Regal Cinemas at Spokane Valley Mall and NorthTown Mall in Spokane will remain closed as U.K.-based Cineworld Group, Regal’s parent company, announced it’s closing 536 theaters worldwide because of the pandemic. Regal Cinemas is the second-largest theater chain in the U.S.

Upon reopening, theaters are required to stagger or limit screening times to reduce overcrowding in common areas, configure ticket lines to ensure social distancing, screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms before shifts, sanitize theaters between screenings and sell tickets online or via phone, among other precautions, according to the state’s new guidelines.

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