Century Theaters Reopening

Cinemark Grand Cinemas on Poplar Street will reopen Friday after seven months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Walla Walla’s Cinemark Grand Cinemas will reopen its doors Friday after being closed the last seven months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Seating will be limited to 25% capacity under guidelines announced last week by Gov. Jay Inslee. Under the updated restrictions movie theaters in Phase 2 counties, which includes Walla Walla, can reopen. Guests must wear face masks.

The cost of tickets online Tuesday varied from $7.75 for adult matinee times to $10.50. Operators announced the cineplex at 1325 W. Poplar St. will be back up and running for the first time since March 17.

“The health and safety of employees, guests and communities is a top priority,” Cinemark stated in a press release.

Still, after months of quarantine and limited options, Cinemark looks to bring back a little of that movie theater fun and excitement.

“Cinemark moviegoers can enjoy this year’s newest films,” a company representative stated in an email before listing off “Tenet,” “War With Grandpa,” “Unhinged,” “Honest Thief,” “The New Mutants,” and “Infidel.”

Showtimes and ticket prices for Friday went live by Tuesday evening. In addition to new films, the company announced it will offer discount rates for the showings of “Comeback Classics.”

“Goonies,” “Jurassic Park,” “Back to the Future,” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” were among the classics offered in September. Special during October: “The Addams Family,” “Halloween,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Beetlejuice,” and “Coco,” among others.

“Welcome Back” pricing for the classics includes both tickets (adults $5, kids and seniors $3) and concessions (large popcorn $5, large drink $3.50, candy $2.50).

In the meantime, Cinemark detailed extensive measures its theaters have implemented in order to operate during the pandemic.

Face masks are mandatory. Their removal is permitted only when eating or drinking inside a theater house.

Customers are encouraged to purchase tickets online at cinemark.com, and cash payment options will be limited.

As soon as a customer buys one or more tickets, the seats to their immediate right and left are blocked from purchase as a buffer.

Same for the rows behind and ahead, if separated by fewer than 6 feet.

With its technology capabilities Cinemark can sell tickets to groups in one transaction, ensuring members of the same group can sit together. Buffering will be automatic on either side of their party, a Cinemark spokesperson said.

Seat wipes and hand sanitizer will be available for customer use.

Meanwhile, every auditorium will be disinfected between showtimes by staff with pressurized sprayers.

In an effort to circulate more fresh air into the auditoriums, Cinemark will use supply fans and filters while keeping its floors regularly vacuumed.

“All public and high-touch spaces will be thoroughly sanitized every 30 minutes,” the press release stated.

Walla Walla joins the latest wave of Cinemark theaters reopening. Others in Bellevue, Tacoma and Federal Way open Friday, too.

Cinemark has reopened about 75% of its U.S. circuit, the company said in its announcement.

Hector del Castillo can be reached at hectordelcastillo@wwub.com or 509-526-8317.

Hector writes stories about local sports, helps produce the daily section and updates the web site. A lifelong sports nut having grown up in Maryland, he joined the U-B with more than 15 years experience in journalism.