The shutdown in movie theaters that began in local counties has gone national. The Regal and AMC chains announced Monday they it is closing all theaters nationally. Locally, the Ritz theaters operated by Landmark have closed “indefinitely.”
The shutdown is something that local moviegoers have grappled with since last week, when movie theaters in affected counties began adhering to Gov. Tom Wolf’s advisory to close entertainment venues, including theaters.
Gov. Tom Wolf originally issued an advisory Thursday that all entertainment venues, including theaters, be closed in Montgomery County, and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has advised against gatherings of more than 250 people.
These requests come as studios delay release of blockbusters like Mulan and A Quiet Place II, which had been slated to open in coming weeks.
The Film Center and PFS Roxy in Philadelphia were the first to close, followed shortly by the Bryn Mawr Film Institute in Montgomery County.
Marcus Theatres, which operates Movie Tavern locations in Flourtown and Collegeville, announced Friday that those Montgomery County sites will be closed through at least March 27.
Landmark Theatres, which operates the Ritz Five and Ritz East in Center City, had kept those facilities open, with upgraded sanitization procedures, but on Monday joined Regal in closing all local venues. Landmark had also instituted a policy keeping individuals theaters at half capacity, and separating patrons to promote social distancing. The national chains had done the same thing nationwide.
The Bryn Mawr Film Institute announced Friday it would be closed for two weeks. All films, special events, and education courses are canceled through March 26.
The Philadelphia Film Society was the first to decide to close.
“Following the recommendations of Gov. Wolf and Mayor Kenney, we will be taking a proactive approach and closing both the PFS Roxy Theater and Philadelphia Film Center starting Friday, March 13," PFS said in a statement Thursday. “We will be looking to both the governor and mayor’s office in the next few weeks to determine a reopening date for both venues.”
BMFI said its employees will continue to receive full pay and benefits during the closure. Customers who have purchased advance tickets or enrolled in film programs can contact BMFI regarding refunds. The theater will post updates, as well as future films and schedules, on BrynMawrFilm.org.
Marcus Theatres issued this statement Friday: “While we continue to feel that movie theaters can be a safe escape during these stressful times, we respect the importance of preventative social distancing as a precaution to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the community. We look forward to seeing you at the movies again soon.”