ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s been a long time coming for movie theatre owners. Netflix, Hulu and several other streaming services have kept many occupied for the past seven months, but according to the governor, specific counties that have met COVID-19 requirements can reopen their theatre doors.
For the historic Madison Theatre in Albany, which is loved by so many in the community, they’re one of them.
“The identity of a theater like this, is wholeheartedly about the customers that come in,” General Manager, Chris Keisling said. “The people that live around the corner, that’s what gives it the feel that you want, kind of a homegrown environment.”
Throughout the pandemic, the Madison Theatre operated only as a restaurant. As they waited for the green light to show movies again, Keisling says its what they had to do to stay afloat.
“It hurts your business without a doubt, I couldn’t tell you otherwise,” Keisling said. “We know how important the re-opening of this theatre is to the community so the last thing we want to do is shut the doors. So, we pretty much did everything we could to keep the doors open within the guidelines that were set forth for the entire state and country at that point.”
Now, theatres open at 25 percent capacity among several other safety protocols.
“We already cut our capacity in terms of tickets being sold and all of the auditorium is based on how many seats there are,” Keisling said. “We are going to make sure that there are three seats between everybody and groups and come in together, stay together.”
While he says the past seven months have been a difficult challenge, the theatre is a staple in the Capital Region. In thanks to the support of the community – closing the doors for good wasn’t going to be an option and now many can enjoy a film on the big screen once again.
“We definitely had to do everything possible to make this a safe environment and make people feel comfortable coming back to the movies,” Keisling said. “There’s general apprehension about being around a lot of people and we want to make sure that people feel safe and for them to be safe when they come back to the theaters.”