Theaters temporarily shutting down

Movie theaters closed, and theater groups postponing performances

Looks like, for the time being, movie lovers will have to get their flick fix at home.

Locally owned theaters announced they are closed.

Big, national brand theaters are closed in Clark County, too.

A sign posted at the box office at Regal Cascade movie theater tells movie goers that the theater is temporarily closed. Photo by Paul Valencia
A sign posted at the box office at Regal Cascade movie theater tells movie goers that the theater is temporarily closed. Photo by Paul Valencia

And no one can say for certain when they will reopen.

At least Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver is trying to make the most of a difficult situation.

“We’re going to try our hand at being a to-go popcorn restaurant,” said Dan Wyatt, the owner — or as he prefers, the captain — of Kiggins. “We have the best popcorn in town.”

There will be no movies shown there for the rest of the month, at least.

“We’re just waiting on what they tell us,” Wyatt said.

“They” would be state government officials.

On Sunday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced an emergency proclamation, mandating the two-week closure of restaurants, bars, entertainment, and recreational facilities, due to the number of COVID-19 cases in Washington and throughout the country. Those venues can remain open for take-out food.

The two-week period could be extended, as well.

The pandemic has led to seemingly changing directives every day. There were early restrictions in the three counties in the Seattle area. More were made statewide last week. Then Sunday, the emergency proclamation.

Across the Columbia River, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown enacted similar measures for that state on Monday.

“It’s not too shocking. We’ve been prepping ourselves emotionally for it,” Wyatt said.

Liberty Theatre in Camas also announced its indefinite closure.

“We closed after our last show last night and will remain closed until we receive word from authorities that we may reopen,” wrote Rand Thornsley, who operates the theatre, in an email. “I wish you all the best, stay safe, and be well.”

Movie theaters associated with the national chains had signs on their doors Monday afternoon.

“We apologize but this theatre is temporarily closed,” noted a sign outside the box office at Regal Cascade IMAX and RPX, on 164th Avenue off of Mill Plain Blvd.

A similar sign was posted at AMC Classic Mill Plain 8 on Southeast 7th Street. Interestingly, that sign notes “This theatre is closed today” and refers to its website or app for updates. However, as of Monday at 5 p.m., the AMC Theatres site still only had a coronavirus update dated March 13.

As previously noted, a lot has changed since then.

Local theater groups are having to adjust as well.

Magenta Theater in Vancouver is postponing Saturday’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk — a MagenTots show for kids. The theater expects to reschedule.

“Hope you’re hanging in there,” wrote Jaynie E. Roberts, the executive artistic director of the theater — a feeling shared by many.

The Love Street Playhouse in Woodland has postponed its next two productions: “Lend me a Tenor” and “The Explorators Club.”

Back to Wyatt and Kiggins Theatre, a blog post on the theatre’s website late Monday noted that for the first time, movie goers can buy on-line gift certificates. The gift certificates never expire, so they can be used whenever the theatre reopens.

The blog post concluded with some advice for everyone who is dealing with closures, cancellations, and scary times:

“As the great prophets Bill and Ted once proclaimed, ‘Be excellent to each other.’” 

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