West Michigan moviegoers and staff celebrate theaters reopening

The sign greeting moviegoers to Celebration! Cinema in Portage. It's lists the new policies they have to protect customers and staff from COVID-19. (WWMT/ Matt Miller)

Movie theaters reopened on Oct. 9, 2020 with limited compacity and some notable changes.

Amanda Herron, assistant general manager of Celebration! Cinema in Kalamazoo, said the response from the public has been fantastic.

"The people that have come in and called are just thrilled that we're open again, thrilled that they come back with their families and make memories and they're just excited and want to come see a movie and have some popcorn again," Herron said.

Peter and Alex Venton were two of those happy people headed to the AMC Portage Street theater on Portage Street in Kalamazoo.

"It's feels good, it was one of our pastimes that we would go and see movies now and again," Peter Venton, a Kalamazoo resident, said.

Theatres and other entertainment businesses could operate at around 20% compacity. Staff and moviegoers were required to wear masks. Plexiglas shields separated costumers at concessions.

Despite these changes, both staff and customers at AMC Portage Street in Kalamazoo and Celebration! Cinema in Portage said they were ready to get back.

"I feel pretty safe, I'll leave the mask on during the movie," Peter Venton said.

Both AMC Portage Street and Celebration! Cinema were encouraging, but not requiring, cinemagoers to buy tickets online.