ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ) — Much of Maryland will move into the second phase of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan Friday evening. While gyms, malls and casinos, among other businesses, will be able to reopen their doors after months, movie theaters remain shuttered.
The summer heat would normally be a boon for business for theaters, but there are still no tickets for sale and no showings of any blockbuster hits. There’s also growing concern some theaters may never reopen.
Robert Weinholt, the vice president of Horizon Cinemas, said his theaters have taken a number of precautions to allow them to reopen. He’s just waiting on state and local officials to say the word.
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“There’s no reason in the world why we couldn’t open under the same circumstances as restaurants,” he said.
Weinholt owns several theaters in different counties. Each one is fully equipped with cleaning supplies, acrylic sheet and hand sanitizer. They all have the ability to follow social distancing guidelines.
Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement last week cleared the way for indoor dining to return at 50 percent capacity over the weekend. Social distancing measures will be required there and at malls, arcades, indoor fitness centers and casinos when that group opens this weekend.
The theaters and stadiums, though, are still waiting, Weinholt said.
“We’re basically just hanging on, paying the bills and it’s becoming a problem now because it’s been over three months,” he said. “You know, we have to go open or we’re in danger of losing the whole operation.”
Weinholt said he has reached out to Hogan and county officials, pleading for them to reconsider giving theaters the green light to open. While the county officials have been receptive, he said, he hasn’t heard anything definitive from the state.
“I just think it’s not fair. I think we should be allowed to open,” he said.