After being closed for nearly six months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Omaha’s Aksarben Cinema will officially reopen to the public on Friday, August 21.
“While we look forward to opening our doors to guests for the magical, immersive, and shared experience of seeing a movie on one of our Big Screens, my family and I don’t take this responsibility lightly,” said Bill Barstow, Co-CEO and President of Main Street Theatres, Inc. “The health and safety of all our employees, guests and the communities we operate in are our absolute top priority. As we considered our reopening, we consulted with our employees, public health experts, and the National Association of Theatre Owners to develop policies and procedures for safe operations. We are confident that with the support of our guests we can execute this plan.”
As a part of Aksarben Cinema’s reopening plan, guests will be required to wear masks at all times. In addition, showtimes will be limited and auditorium capacities will be reduced in an effort to lessen the total number of guests in the theater at any given moment.
Groups will still be able to sit together when watching a movie, but there will be two seats between each group to facilitate social distancing. Aksarben recommends purchasing tickets in advance in order to secure ideal seating.
Moreover, a number of hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the theater, and Aksarben highly encourages guests to take advantage of these resources.
Employees will undergo wellness checks before their shifts, and they will be required to wear masks and gloves throughout each day of work. On top of their other responsibilities, staff members will also be tasked with following enhanced cleaning procedures when disinfecting auditoriums in between shows and wiping down high-touch surfaces in the lobby.
Though it takes time to properly plan out such thorough and comprehensive reopening policies, Barstow maintains that the work is worth it in the end, especially to avoid further losses in profit and to restore some sense of normalcy.
“The longer our theaters stay closed, the more difficult it will be to reopen in these communities we so deeply care about,” explained Barstow. “These theaters are more than just our livelihood, they’re our community – our neighbors.”
Since opening in 2010, Aksarben Cinema has been a beloved hangout spot for UNO students due to its close proximity to campus and its numerous student discounts. Now, thanks to Barstow’s efforts, the theater will still be able to offer opportunities for entertainment once again this fall.
Prospective patrons will first be able to watch Solstice Studios’ “Unhinged,” a thriller starring Academy Award Winner Russell Crowe, on August 21. On that same day, Warner Bros. will re-release Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking 2010 blockbuster.
Even more enticing titles will debut in the weeks to come. On August 28, 20th Century Studios’ “X-Men” spin-off “The New Mutants” will arrive in theaters, and Orion will release “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” Finally, on September 3, Aksarben is excited to finally share Christopher Nolan’s hotly anticipated “Tenet” with the world, a film which they call “the centerpiece of [their] reopening schedule.”