HOLLAND – Local entertainment venues celebrated a milestone this past weekend.
After facing a state-mandated shutdown for six months, companies like GQT Holland 7, AMC Holland 8, The Lost City and Park Theater scored a victory after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order allowing them to reopen on Friday October 9.
The order requires 20 people per 1,000 square feet or 20 percent of the fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 500 people. Face coverings and social distancing are necessary.
Waiting for the right time
Not all sites chose to reopen immediately.
Sperry’s Moviehouse in downtown Holland, for example, announced shortly after signing the order that it will remain closed until mid-November, although private screenings may be scheduled.
Meanwhile, The Lost City, a laser beacon and arcade center located in downtown Holland for a quarter of a century, has lost many of its workers to the pandemic.
According to the owners, the goal is to reopen in November, pending negotiations with the owner of the center and the rehiring of employees.
Ready to go
At the same time, the Bam Entertainment Center on 16th Street quickly organized the opening of its escape rooms, laser tag and arcade experiences following the announcement of the order. The company reopened its bowling center in mid-September.
Reservations for bowling alleys or escape rooms can be made online at gobamgo.com.
GQT Holland 7 also jumped at the chance to welcome the audience with screenings of Hocus Pocus, Henchmen and Unhinged.
When customers reserve seats online, an automatic three-seat buffer between their party and the next is added. Tickets are $ 7 for morning screenings; $ 7 for students, soldiers, seniors and children aged 3 to 12 in the evening; and $ 8.50 for adults in the evening.
Earlier this year, staff at GQT Holland 7 learned it would not reopen amid the Goodrich Quality Theater filing for bankruptcy before the pandemic.
However, a press release from the company – now known as Goodrich Theater NewCo, LLC or New GQT – announced that it had been sold to Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group and would reopen 12 closed locations.
“We are pleased to welcome the majority of former CEOs and employees of GQT to the New GQT team, and we aim to facilitate a smooth transition to reopening,” said Mark McSparin, President of New GQT, in a statement earlier this month.
“We are truly excited to acquire and reopen GQT theaters and remain optimistic about the future of the industry. We will reopen with the primary objective of maintaining quality operations for our customers through cleanliness, customer service and value. “
For updated pricing and session times, visit facebook.com/GQTHolland.
‘We try to be the model’
The Park Theater in downtown Holland will reopen on Saturday 31 October.
“We’re just trying to do three months of work in a month,” said Brandon Blank, general manager of the Park Theater. “But it’s been a great positive reinforcement to get up and come back to what we love to do.”
The experience will be very different from before the pandemic.
“We’re going to do seated tables,” Blank said. “We encourage you and ask you to come with members from your home. You will buy the table as one table. Masks will be needed online and until you reach your table.
“Once you are seated there will be drinks and food so you can take it off. And you will be seated for the duration of the event. I hope people only need to get up for fresh air or use the toilet. “
According to Blank, the place drew on ideas from the restaurant industry to craft a safe reopening plan.
“We are trying to be the role model that can help push this industry in the right direction on how to handle a socially distant event,” Blank said. “This has been our main goal. How can we ensure the safety of our staff and our community? ”
On its opening night, the theater will host Melophobix, a group of nine funk musicians from Grand Rapids.
“We’re going big with the music,” Blank said. “We’re really trying to prove, up front, that we can deliver entertainment that has substance and fun and shows what we are here for.”
Follow the site on facebook.com/ParkTheatreHolland for up to date information on the event.
Fight to survive
Large movie chains have faced particularly difficult reopening challenges. Last week, Regal Cinemas announced it would shut down all 536 locations nationwide.
The decision came less than two months after Regal began reopening theaters. A company statement said the closures were temporary, but did not announce the reopening of theaters.
AMC – which has a location on James Street in Holland – has done only slightly better. While not being forced to shut down sites a second time, the company’s shares have performed poorly in recent months, with big-budget movie releases repeatedly being pushed back.
This week, the company said it may have to file for bankruptcy before the end of the year.
According to the AMC Netherlands webpage, the theater has reopened for afternoon and evening screenings. Currently, offerings include Coco, Tenet, and The War With Grandpa.
– Contact reporter Cassandra Lybrink at [email protected] Follow her on Instagram @BizHolland.
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