HOLTSVILLE, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — Island 16 – the large multiplex cinema along the Long Island Expressway in Holtsville – will reopen on Friday, ending seven months of closure amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But Regal Ronkonkoma in Lake Ronkonkoma will remain closed for now.
Last Saturday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced movie theaters in many areas of the state, including Suffolk County, can reopen as of Oct. 23, as long as new health measures are followed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Showcase Cinemas, the operator of Island 16 Showcase Cinema de Lux in Holtsville, announced Tuesday that it will re-open six New York theaters this Friday. Showcase Cinemas will re-open all theaters under the company’s “Be Showcase Safe” health and safety program. The program has been developed and certified with J.S. Held, an environmental, health and safety firm led by noted toxicologists, epidemiologists and an Assistant Surgeon General, US Public Health Service (Retired), according to the company.
In addition to reopening Island 16 in Holtsville, the movie theater chain will re-open Hicksville (Broadway), Farmingdale, Yonkers (Cross County, Ridge Hill), and White Plains (City Center). Four additional Showcase Cinemas locations in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx will reopen in the coming weeks following further state and New York City guidance. The company has already reopened Showcase Cinemas locations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Ohio.
The company’s Be Showcase Safe program includes employee health screenings before starting work and food and beverage manager ServSafe Food Safety Certification under the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe food and safety training and certification program. Additional new procedures include installation of air-purifying systems for all U.S. theaters; reduced auditorium seating capacity; automatic seating social distancing; increased/enhanced auditorium cleaning between shows and in high-touch surface areas; employee and patron protective mask requirements; social distancing markers; and the availability of hand-sanitizing stations.
“The health and safety of our customers and employees is Showcase’s top priority, while still delivering an unparalleled moviegoing experience,” according to the company’s announcement.
Guided by state and CDC guidelines, the company said its health and safety program includes the following:
- All employees will have a temperature check and symptoms screening before they begin each shift;
- All employees must wear protective face masks at all times and must use gloves for food service;
- All patrons must wear protective face coverings;
- All patrons will be asked to socially distance by staying at least 6 feet apart until they are in their seats;
- Installation of a new bi-polar ionization air-purifying systems and MERV 13 HVAC air filters for all U.S. theaters;
- Social distancing floor markers will be placed throughout our lobby, box office and concession areas;
- New contactless payment options and food/beverage/ticket pre-order are available through showcasecinemas.com and our Showcase app;
- Concession offerings will be made available in covered containers;
- Plexiglas shields have been added at the box office and concession areas;
- Continuously cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces throughout the cinema;
- Hand-sanitizing stations will be available to patrons and employees throughout the cinema;
- Limiting the number of patrons who can sit together;
- Reducing auditorium capacity;
- Implementing extensive cleaning protocols throughout the day, between showtimes and at close of business using EPA-approved disinfecting products; and
- Increasing the time between showings to clean auditoriums.
“During the last few months we have worked with our industry partners to re-envision our Showcase customer experience to make health and safety our main focus,” said Mark Malinowski, Vice President of Global Marketing for Showcase. “We are calling our program Be Showcase Safe and are strongly encouraging our customers to work together with our employees and follow these new health and safety protocols as we are working toward the same goal – a safe and fun movie-going experience.”
Rent an Entire Theater for a Private Showing at Island 16
Showcase Cinemas will also be offering private screenings for family and friends. For $99, customers can book their own auditorium for up to 20 guests and choose from a catalogue of “Bring Backs” films to screen, including Halloween classics. For $199, customers can book their own auditorium for new films such as “Tenet,” “The Empty Man,” “Honest Thief,” “The War With Grandpa,” and “Unhinged.”
As part of its reopening, Showcase Cinemas is working with select local healthcare facilities to provide free movie-going opportunities as a thank you for their contributions during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Island 16 Showcase Cinema de Lux is located at 185 Morris Ave. in Holtsville, near the Long Island Expressway, Nichols Road, and Union Avenue. The theater website is www.showcasecinemas.com/theater-info/island-16-cinema-de-lux.
What About Regal Ronkonkoma?
As OnSachem News reported, the nearby Regal Ronkonkoma at 565 Portion Rd. in Lake Ronkonkoma is unlikely to reopen this week. Three weeks ago, Regal announced it was suspending operations across the U.S., even in parts of the country where theaters are allowed to operate. While the local theater in Lake Ronkonkoma remains closed for now, the company did not announce a permanent closure. There is no indication from the company yet when theaters would reopen.