Local movie theaters adapt to a pandemic
Among the countless businesses that have been severely impacted by the COVID pandemic are Dare County’s two year-round movie theaters — the Pioneer in downtown Manteo and RC Theaters in Kill Devil Hills.
After shuttering their doors for more than six months due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Pioneer re-opened a week after Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order, which went into effect on Oct. 2, allowed theaters to operate at 30 percent capacity. RC Theatres held off until Dec. 18 to start the movie reels running again.
Technically, both businesses never really shut down, selling concessions (of course, that included popcorn) even when their theaters were dark. Since they re-opened at limited capacity, both have experimented. For RC Theaters, it’s been private, socially distanced, screenings. The Pioneer decided to buck tradition by staying open on Christmas Day and has also moved its daily showtime from 8 p.m. to 7 p.m. due to the statewide COVID-19 curfew of 10 p.m.
It’s all part of an effort to survive COVID’s massive business disruption in an industry already in flux.