Grand, other performance centers go dark; Delaware cinemas cut capacity


The Grand and other venues have postponed or canceled performances in the wake of the governor’s State of Emergency. On Monday, Regal Cinemas, the nation’s second-largest movie chain announced it will close its locations until further notice.

The Grand, which operates the venue of the same name as well as the Playhouse on Rodney Square, asked patrons to hold on to tickets or to consider the tickets as a donation to the non-profit venues.

The list of closings includes OperaDelaware, which is canceling all performances in its 2019-2020 season. Due to the nature of performances, which feature individuals from outside the state, the company cannot postpone performances, an advisory stated.

Meanwhile, cinema operators are cutting seating capacity at their operations as part of the effort to address coronavirus.

On Monday, Regal Cinema announced it will close its locations  until further notice, effective Tuesday. Regal has two multiplexes in northern Delaware.

Penn Cinema, which operates a theater on Wilmington’s Riverfront, cut seating capacity by 50 percent to allow for greater separation of moviegoers. 

Penn also closed its Montgomery County theater, due to the advisory from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that urges “nonessential” businesses to close in Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.  Its Lancaster and Riverfront operations remain open.

In Delaware, Gov John Carney’s State of Emergency strongly advises no gatherings of more than 100.

Penn  also took other sanitation steps that include keeping theater doors open so patrons do not have to come in contact with handles.

Movies at Midway, in the Lewes-Rehoboth area went a step further by reducing seat capacity at shows by two thirds. The cinema complex is also closing 40 percent of its theater space as previously scheduled installation of upgraded seating goes on.

Regal Cinemas, which operates theaters in northern Delaware and AMC, which has a theater in Dover  also cut capacity.

The owners of Westown Cinema in Middletown and Main Street Movies Five in Newark announced stepped up sanitation efforts, but did not announce plans to cut capacity.

Theaters, like other public venues, had seen sizable declines in attendance before the recent orders and advisories. 

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