Going to the Movies — Pandemic-Style
The fun began well before we even set foot in the movie theater. In fact, it started with could be called fake news.
Like much misinformation, I don’t know the provenance of the rumor that the movie theater closest to us required vaccinations and had limited capacity. Even lacking confirmation, I was excited at the prospect of safely watching a movie with my family.
At first, the website for the Regal Cineplex closest to us said that capacity was below 100%. Something about people being spaced out in the assigned seating.
This fact gave me some safety solace after the rest of the coronavirus precautions fantasy started to unwind. Because when I booked the ticket, there was no evidence that vaccinations were required. Only that masks were mandatory, in keeping with DC rules. And when I called the cinema, they said that vaccinations weren’t required and capacity was back at 100%.
I checked out the cinema chain’s coronavirus website, and it didn’t have any specific details about vax status, at least that I could tell. So I submitted a question, or more accurately several of them, to Regal on its website. Since this was a day before the showing, I figured I wouldn’t hear back in time.
So I was surprised when the next morning, I got an email from a customer service representative. Their alacrity turned out to be offset by the substance of their response to me. Although I had asked about the specific theater, their legalese was devoid of useful information.
So my son and I showed up with some trepidation the day of the movie. But it turned out that we needn’t have worried at all.
One thing I didn’t account for was the complete dearth of moviegoers. After all, it was a Tuesday, during the day no less. I had expected a crowd like what I’m used to on snow days and more generally recognized holidays. I had thought that the fact that DC public schools were off for the day would have meant that many kids and at least some of their parents would be doing the same as we were.
Instead, we had the entire 99-seat movie theater to ourselves for the entire flick. It was the safest experience I could have imagined. Eerie, too.
Another positive surprise: Tuesdays are half-off for popcorn, at least if you are a member of the theater chain’s loyalty program. Just over $5 including tax for a large popcorn that we refilled once was a great deal.
Evidence of the pandemic was seen at the concession stand. A written notice said that certain things mightn’t be available due to supply shortages. Indeed, medium popcorn wasn’t being sold, presumably due to lack of the containers for it.
Nevertheless and despite some other kerfuffles, it was a relief to be able to safely enjoy our return to moviegoing. The movie wasn’t bad, either.
We saw Shang-Chi and the Legend. I found the backstory involving the protagonist and his father a little confusing, but the CGI was cool and I would give it a solid thumbs up.