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It’s showtime: Marquette Cinemas open for business on weekends

Justin Marietti/Mining Journal (Marquette) Snow falls outside the Thomas Theatre Group’s Marquette Cinemas in this Journal file photo. The theater is open for business once again.

MARQUETTE — Thomas Theatre Group’s Marquette Cinemas is open for business once again.

The theater, along with theaters across the country, have been plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year.

With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifting her ban on indoor dining and concessions at movie theaters and casinos, Marquette Cinemas is now able to open on the weekends with full concession service, according to TTG President Tom Andes.

“The governor two weeks ago finally released the fact that we could start selling food,” he said. “She opened up restaurants and other dining institutions across the state and we were able to get into that category.

“It’s a real help to us because half of our business is selling food and concessions and now we’re able to do that. It helps get customers back into the movie theater.”

Andes added that a day or night out at the movies can actually be beneficial to one’s health.

“A lot of people want to come to the movies for the films, obviously,” he said. “But another big part of it is the fresh popcorn, the big stacks of candies you can’t really get anywhere else, and it also takes your mind off of all of this craziness for awhile. It’s healthy for someone to come in and get their mind off of things for a couple of hours.”

Marquette Cinemas will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the remainder of the winter. The theater can’t be open on weekdays due to revenue hits with the 25% capacity mandate.

“Because of the restrictions, shutdowns and mandates and us being open for 20 to 25 percent capacity, we’d be operating at a 70 to 80 percent loss if we were open during the week,” Andes said. “When lockdowns are lifted and the movie companies start releasing films on a full schedule, we should be back up and running (at) full speed.”

Friday marked a big step forward for the theater.

“(Today) is the first day we’re showing any new film in the last six weeks,” Andes said. “We’re expecting to have a pretty good weekend of business. The weather looks like it’s going to cooperate. We have new products (films) coming in for people to see, so I’m excited.

“One of the things this lockdown has done has pushed all of the movies off. Once we get back to a regular movie schedule, I expect to see two years of solid, quality films to come out week after week for those next two years.”

The TTG website states that all theater employees wear masks and have their temperature taken prior to their shift, with employees following the 6 foot social distancing recommendation. TTG has added tape to the floors of its theater to mark 6 feet of distance, and sanitizes seats in each theater between films, along with other high-touch areas such as door handles, restrooms and ticket/concession counters.

Customers are asked to wear masks at all times unless eating or drinking at their seats, and to use debit or credit cards for payment if possible. Hand sanitizer and wipes are also on-site for patrons to use.

“I think the public is well-versed in what they need to do,” Andes said. “Practice social distancing, wear a mask when not eating or drinking. Once you get to your seat, you can take your mask off to eat your popcorn, drink your soda and enjoy your movie.”

For more information on films, show times, pricing and up-to-date safety protocols, visit www.marquettecinemas.com.

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