Put this up on the Main Street marquee: Regal Culpeper Movies 4 will reopen May 21 following a more than year-long closure due to spread of the novel coronavirus.
The theater at 210 S. Main St. was included in an online company list at regmovies.com of hundreds of theaters nationwide eventually reopening weekly from April 2- May 21 as the scope of the pandemic eases.
Movies delayed by COVID-19 in 2020 will debut in theaters as they slowly reopen in 2021, including the mammoth “Godzilla vs. Kong” and the 1980s Tom Cruise sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” set for release in June.
Also on the May 21 theater reopening list were 17 other Regal Cinemas locations in Virginia, including Fredericksburg, Manassas, Fairfax and Harrisonburg.
Theaters reopening earlier, on May 14, are Regal Cinemas in Alexandria, Charlottesville, Midlothian, three in Richmond including Short Pump, Sterling and at River Ridge Mall in Lynchburg, according to regmovies.com.
Virginia Regal theaters opening April 23 include those in Springfield and Gainesville. Dozens of the company’s movie theaters in major U.S. cities are already reopened, including in L.A., Orlando, New York, Las Vegas, Nashville, Houston and Seattle.
Regal announced numerous public health protocols as part of its phased reopening, including daily employee health screenings, employee hand washing at least every half hour to hour, mandatory masks for employees and patrons, physical distance, fewer registers open and a reduced concessions menu.
There will be no self-serve condiments and new containers will be provided for all popcorn and soda refills. Locations with bars will offer walk-up service only and movie auditoriums will operate at no more than 30 percent capacity or up to 500 people, according to Gov. Ralph Northam’s latest pandemic-related executive order, No. 72, effective April 1, 2021.
Regal Cinemas is increasing fresh air intake in its theaters 50-100 percent above normal levels. Two seats of spacing will separate unrelated groups. Guests not wearing masks will be asked to leave. Regal said it will provide wall-mounted hand sanitizers at the main entrance. Vending machines and water fountains are not in use and arcade games closed.
As for the Culpeper Regal, it is unknown how or if the ongoing federal court lease dispute with the town of Culpeper will impact operations once the theater reopens in six weeks.
Regal has sued the town, which owns the land on which the theater was built 20 years ago, for early termination of its long-term lease. The company claims the town took advantage of its forced, prolonged closure during the global pandemic to try and seize its property and sell it to the highest bidder.
Read more on the latest in the Regal Cinemas vs. Town of Culpeper lawsuit in Thursday’s Star-Exponent and online at starexponent.com.