ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – Movie theaters have been shut down for months because of the pandemic but one New Mexico theater is getting ready to reopen this week despite others having to stay closed. The Dreamcatcher 10 in Española will be welcoming people back Friday, but the movie-going experience will look a lot different.
“Trying to get out toe in the water and get opened back up,” Brian Mitchell of Mitchell Theatres said. The governor closed down theaters statewide in March but now people will be able to sit inside the Dreamcatcher 10, located on the Santa Clara Pueblo, starting Friday.
It’s following different rules than the state. This comes after the Santa Claran Casino reopened last week.
“Once they opened the casino, we thought we will just go ahead and open the theater after that,” Mitchell said. “That is what we were kind of waiting on. The other two locations in Taos and Los Lunas will stay closed according to the New Mexico governor’s rules.”
Mitchell Theatres, who owns the theater, said they will only allow 25% capacity, require masks, check employees’ temperatures, and more. “Showtimes are staggered,” Mitchell said. “It allows for more cleaning time and less [sic] people in the lobby.”
Mitchell Theatres has 15 theaters across six states. All have reopened except the three they have here in New Mexico.
He said some have been open since May and they have not had a single case tied to any of their theaters. “We learned these protocols in other states, and hopefully we can set an example and get the other theaters to open at some point,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said while he does not expect huge crowds to come back anytime soon, he is excited to welcome back those comfortable enough to return. “We will barely break even, but you have got to start somewhere,” Mitchell said. “That is what we are hoping to do.”
Mitchell said they employ 20 to 30 people at each of their New Mexico locations. They will be returning with limited staff for now.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the governor’s office about the theater reopening. A spokesperson said that while the theater is located on Santa Clara Pueblo land, that does not automatically mean they are allowed to operate outside the scope of the state’s public health order and the state is looking into the matter.
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