CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Nearly every business was impacted by the financial blows of the pandemic, but some movie theaters are further behind in the recovery process because they reopened much later.
While other nearby theaters like Alamo Drafthouse and Regal Stonefield have reopened, Violet Crown on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall has remained closed since mid-March.
“It’s been really hard," Violet Crown General Manager Cameron Polson said. "Especially having to let several employees go to furlough and not be sure when we’re going to be able to bring employees back, that’s been really difficult.”
Now, six months later, the theater is slowly but surely planning to open its doors again.
“I don’t know if we can expect the same volume of people right away, but I know that people really do miss their movies,” Polson said.
Violet Crown will reopen in baby steps. It will allow people to book appointment times in their own private theater.
“Groups and families can rent cinemas at an affordable price by themselves, have their own theater to themselves,” Polson said.
Folks can even pick their own movie from a list of choices.
“I think having your own theater is going to be exciting and I think being able to see a movie with your friends and go out again and feel safe about it is going to make a big difference,” Polson said.
Polson says, on the bright side, being closed for half the year has allowed them to make upgrades.
“We’ve installed, ionizers in all of our HVAC units to make the fresh air intake safer for all the theaters," he said. "We’ve invested in electrostatic disinfectant sprayers to make cleaning more efficient and more effective.”
Even though the theater continues to feel the financial impact of the virus, Polson says they won’t open their doors to larger groups until they are sure it is safe.
“At this time we don’t really know the safety threshold for when we should be opening for public shows,” he said. “So we’re kind of playing that by ear.”
Violet Crown hopes to start private showings in October and bring in the public soon after.