A common source of entertainment and escape returns to our lives as more and more movie theaters are reopening.

But it will not be the same as before.

Big theater chains like AMC have reopened but with new hours and showtimes on only Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. There is also a mask requirement at every theater and a max of 50% capacity.

For those that do visit the theater frequently, like movie-goer Margaret Mancuso, it’s worth the wait.

“My only concern would be about the spread of germs and stuff, but as long as everyone is staying safe it’s a great community activity,” said Mancuso. 

Some smaller chains have opened as well, like Spotlight Cinemas on St. Andrews Road, where one of the managers talked about the struggle it has been post-COVID.

“(Business)) hasn’t been very good, but it is just enough to keep the lights on,” said ?. 

But having a little business is better than having none.

The Nickelodeon, the popular downtown Columbia theater, has still yet to reopen. Anita Floyd, executive director for the Columbia Film Society, says that reaction from fans of the Nickelodeon has been, for the most part, understanding.

“I think people are disappointed because six months is a long time for us to not be seeing our members,” said Floyd. “I think they are understanding. About half the people I talk to are like ‘I don’t know’ and then the other half are like ‘Yeah what are you waiting for, I can’t wait.’”

And as the movie theater consumers miss the theaters, the theaters miss them. Not only as a form of revenue for the workers but according to Floyd, the sense of community that theaters provide.

“We’re more than just a movie theater… and I think that the community misses us and we are missing them,” said Floyd. 

The Nickelodeon has not announced a set date of return but do have plans in place for when that date comes.

As for the rest of the theaters, they continue to adjust to the new normal that the coronavirus has created.

An empty parking lot on what used to be a busy Friday afternoon for AMC Classic Columbia 10

Neon sign that says ‘The Movies’ proves that this nearly empty theater is open