The show goes on: Flagship Cinemas reopens in Wareham
For the first time in months, movie goers are being treated to shows on the big screen while eating their snacks of choice at Flagship Cinemas in Wareham.
“I like to think of it as a long intermission [rather than a shutdown]” said Janete Oprendek, Flagship’s Vice President of Operations.
While theaters had to close early in the pandemic, she explained that Flagship Cinemas has been closely monitoring CDC updates and guidelines to be able to reopen safely for guests.
On Monday, August 31, the Wareham theater opened its doors to a new normal of masks, social distancing, and prepackaged snacks.
While film fans have been able to watch movies at home during the pandemic, Oprendek said going to a movie theater offers a unique “shared experience” for viewers.
Even with social distancing, seeing a movie on the big screen allows crowds to laugh, cry, and experience the emotional ups and downs of a film in unison, which is something Oprendek said simply can’t be replicated by watching a movie alone at home.
“It’s the magic of the movies,” she said.
Jo Norton watched “The New Mutants” with family members at Flagship on Tuesday afternoon.
She said the thing she missed most about going to the movies was simply “ the experience of being in the theater.”
Norton added that her experience on Tuesday was “everything [she] would have expected,” and that she felt very safe thanks to the precautions being taken.
Per state guidelines, each auditorium is limited to 40% capacity, with a maximum of 25 guests.
To make sure these guidelines are met, Oprendek said that Flagship has developed a “seat buffering system.”
When guests pick their seats, a three-seat buffer is automatically created to make sure that two parties do not sit directly next to each other.
In terms of safety, “that makes us feel a lot better,” Oprendek said.
At the concession stand, employees are serving prepackaged food and condiments to prevent any possible contamination. Oprendek added that she hopes to be able to return to a self-serve model, but only once it is deemed safe to do so.
Employees are also sanitizing seats, cupholders, armrests, handrails, and doorknobs before each show. Other areas throughout the cinema are also being disinfected regularly.
Masks must be worn at all times, except for momentary breaks to eat snacks, once guests are already in their seats.
Markers have also been placed on the floor to allow six feet of distance between guests as they wait in line.
Tickets can be bought in person, or online at flagshipcinemas.com/wareham/showtimes.