UPDATE: In accordance with government directives regarding COVID-19, Regal Cinemas announced Monday the theater chain will close all of its locations, including in Dickson City and Hazleton, nationwide on Tuesday. Following Gov. Tom Wolf’s order Monday to shut down nonessential services, R/C Wilkes-Barre Movies 14 and Scranton Art Haus closed their doors Monday night. According to the Cinemark app, the Moosic location is closed until further notice. The Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock said it will close temporarily starting Tuesday through March 30.
As the coronavirus spreads across the country, most movie theaters remained open Sunday. With COVID-19 concerns spurring the cancellation of large gatherings throughout Northeast Pennsylvania, local cinemas are taking precautions in response to the pandemic.
Regal Cinemas, which operates theaters in Dickson City and Hazleton, announced Friday it was limiting ticket sales to half the capacity for each screening. The theater chain’s move promotes “social distancing” between moviegoers to combat the spread of COVID-19. Regal also said it has implemented more stringent cleaning and sanitation practices inside its theaters between showings.
Cinemark, which operates a Moosic location, has also enhanced its cleaning protocols. According to the national chain’s website, the theater is disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, such as door handles, box office and concession counters, and faucets, on an hourly basis. The chain also says it is practicing “deep cleaning” in its theaters, which applies to armrests, cupholders and seat controls, between showtimes. Cinemark will continue to honor its refillable concessions policy, but will now offer new disposable containers.
The Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock is also taking action. According to a post on the theater’s Facebook page, the local cinema is “committed to doing all we can to ensure the health and safety of our patrons and staff. We are paying close attention to our local, state and national guidelines regarding the coronavirus and we are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and PA Dept of Health.” The theater said its movie showtimes will run as posted, but it will not offer any classes this week.
The situation concerning the coronavirus is changing rapidly. As movie theaters continue to operate, they are taking the escalating crisis seriously.
If you decide to go to the movies, you can take additional precautions to protect yourself, such as using hand sanitizer and washing your hands in the restrooms.
Rebecca Kivak and Joe Baress write about movies for Take 2 blog. Together, they review current flicks and offer their insights into the latest movie news. Rebecca is a copy editor and page designer at The Times-Tribune. She started her career with Times-Shamrock Newspapers in 2005 and has won several professional journalism awards for page design and headline writing. She also covers NASCAR races from Pocono Raceway. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5126; @TTRebeccaKivak