The movie theatre experience during a global pandemic


Clare Atheneos, Contributing Writer

Everything was as I remembered,  yet completely different. For the first time in months, I was going to the movies. The Coronavirus pandemic had brought temporary and/or permanent ends to many things, and cinemas were no exception. Fortunately, select theatres have recently reopened, including a number of locations close to home such Solon, Aurora, Macedonia and Valley View. I went to Valley View.

I am a big movies fan, so ever since the theatres opened back up I’ve been itching to go. As I entered, I could smell the comforting scent of salty popcorn, and a million bright lights coming from the boards and signs that reflected against the shining surfaces. The walls were covered with big movie posters and celebrity faces. Everything was so familiar and exciting, but there was also something that has become a recurring circumstance lately. The workers now had a face mask to go with their black and red collared shirt, and plexiglass divided the customers and the concession stand workers.

I was happy to figure out that I could still get popcorn, and a drink, but the options for candy selection and other snacks were limited. However, a major positive was that all of the pricing for food decreased and even the tickets were lowered five dollars in order to adhere to the lower demand of movie-goers.

When I walked into the auditorium, it was made clear through signs and on their website that it had previously been thoroughly cleaned. I also realized that anyone else who would be going to see that same movie would not be sitting too close to me. I bought my tickets online and where I was able to choose my seat, and then the seats surrounding my spot automatically became unavailable to others. Even if the tickets were booked to capacity, that still leaves out the chairs that nobody sits in to ensure social distancing. Either way, there were not many others at the theatre, so every group remained multiple rows apart from each other. 

When it came to watching the movie, it was quite enjoyable because everyone left each other alone and remained peaceful. I was also able to remove my mask temporarily whenever I wanted to eat my popcorn. Being able to once again take part in this nostalgic activity was all worth the hand sanitizing stations and social distancing markers.

It was a good feeling to be able to watch a movie in the movie seats and eat salty popcorn and laugh, to be able to forget for a few moments how drastically different the world has become. 

After the movie ended and the credits rolled in, I walked out of the theatre, threw out my trash, and followed the recommendations to wash my hands before leaving. Walking back out the exit doors and regaining the knowledge that it remained to be daylight even though I had spent the last two hours in a dark room was a feeling I had missed. I am happy I got to once again partake in one of my favorite activities, and I hope I never have to go that long without it again.