Kilgore’s 4 Star Cinema will be reopening this Friday, June 5, and owner Byron Berkley said they are following all of the required protocols to keep people safe as they returning to the cinema.
“We are sanitizing everything,” Berkley said Monday afternoon. “We will be sanitizing all of the seats on a regular basis, all of the hard surfaces and door handles and countertops and anything that people normally come in contact with, those will be sanitized frequently during the day, and employees will all be working behind plexiglass barricades, wearing masks and plastic gloves and washing their hands frequently, and we’ll be measuring the temperature of our employees every day when they come to work, make sure that they haven’t contracted the virus.
“And we’ll be following all the CDC and state health requirements for public facilities like theaters and places where people gather, so that’s gonna make a lot of difference.”
The theater is limited to 25 percent capacity, although Berkley hopes the governor will relax restrictions this week so that can go up to 50 percent capacity. Anyone not in the same family or group will be seated in every other seat, and every other row will be empty. The theater has been completely reseated with electric recliners, and everybody will have a reserved seat.
Berkley said they are encouraging customers, if they can, to buy their tickets online, and to use credit cards as opposed to cash. The theater has installed touchless credit card scanning devices to limit contact, he said.
Concessions will be a little different than usual. Refills of drinks and popcorn will not be available for the time being. All tableware and straws will be individually wrapped. In addition, staff will behind plexiglass partitions.
“We’re doing all we can that we have minimal contact with any of the containers or anything that customers are served with,” Berkley said. “We can’t eliminate it completely, but we’ll make sure that it’s done in a manner that is going to be safe.”
4 Star Cinema will only be showing older films for the time being.
“The first couple of weeks that we’re open, all we’re going to be doing is bringing back old movies like “Jaws” and “Back to the Future” and “Indiana Jones” and some of these films because there are no new movies currently available,” Berkley said. “... all of the movies that were scheduled for distribution have been moved either to next year or to later in this year. So the first brand new movie that will be available for theaters won’t be until July 17, and so we open Friday, and between Friday and July 17, we’ll be playing old movies.”
Being they’re not showing new films, admission price is dropping to $6 for everybody, which is $3 cheaper than usual.
Berkley compared being able to open back up again to being able to breathe again.
“We’re very glad to be able to do it. The only concern we have is of course whether or not the public is prepared to come back. We hope they are,” he said. “I had a brief conversation with our mayor this morning (Ronnie Spradlin), and he indicated to me that he thought that the people of Kilgore would be very willing to return to the movies, so I’m hoping that what he said is correct and if it is, then I’ll be very happy.”