Lake Theatre to reopen June 26

Will follow state safety precautions

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

Classic Cinemas will reopen its movie theaters June 26, including the Lake Theatre, 1022 Lake St., despite construction on Lake Street.

"We're told that all pedestrian traffic is still allowed there, so we're going to open," said Classic Cinemas CEO Chris Johnson. "It's not ideal, but yes, we will open."

Moviegoers will still enter Lake Theatre via the main entrance in the front on Lake Street. Due to construction, cars cannot park on Lake Street.

"Sidewalks are open. You can use the garages still," said Johnson.

Johnson called the construction "unfortunate," but the construction will not make attending movies at Lake Theatre an impossibility.

Upon reopening, Lake Theatre, as well as other Classic Cinemas theaters, will have safety protocols pursuant to phase four of Governor J.B. Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan to keep guests and staff safe from contracting COVID-19. The state of Illinois has not yet released phase four guidelines.

"We're waiting for the final protocols from the state for phase four," said Johnson. "We'll follow those but we're 99 percent sure that it will require guests to wear masks throughout the common areas. When they're sitting in their seat and properly social distanced, they can take their masks off."

Classic Cinemas will have socially distanced seating in its theaters.

"It will probably be every other row, and then three seats between each group," Johnson said. 

To maintain adequate social distancing, the theaters will allow fewer guests, well below each movie auditorium's full capacity.

"Once you're in the auditorium, it should feel just like going to the movies was four months ago," he said.

The assortment of movies the soon-to-open theaters will offer has yet to be decided.

"I'm excited for the opportunity to open, absolutely," said Johnson. "It's not ideal circumstances but hopefully we can earn the trust of our guests and when new movies come, it'll build and go from there. Hopefully we'll get a vaccine sooner than later and everybody will be happy."

All Classic Cinemas movie theaters in the state of Illinois will reopen June 26 except one, located in Kankakee. The movie group has one movie theater in Wisconsin that has already reopened.

"We're doing the best we can and we're certainly going to adhere to all the guidelines," said Johnson. "At the end of the day, our focus is going to be on telling the guests to come out, enjoy themselves, leave it up to us, and just wear your masks in the lobby."

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