Movie theaters welcome back customers

Cinemark Tinseltown USA movie theater in North Aurora reopened Friday

For Bruce Kubesh, nothing beats watching a movie on a big screen in a theater.

“There’s nothing like the big screen,” said Kubesh, of Aurora. “You got to have the big screen. In a pandemic, it’s like a getaway.”

With the COVID-19 situation improving across the area, Cinemark reopened seven of its Illinois movie theaters on Friday, including the Cinemark Tinseltown USA movie theater. Kubesh was at the theater to see “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.”

He sees the fact that movie theaters are being allowed to reopen as a sign that things are getting back to normal – slowly.

“Anything is better than nothing,” Kubesh said.

Other movie theaters like Classic Cinemas Charlestowne 18 in St. Charles plan to not open until the spring.

Cinemark has put several health and safety precautions in place, including that theaters will have staggered showtimes and limited capacities to maximize physical distancing and people are required to wear face masks in the theater. They can only be removed for eating and drinking in the auditoriums.

Face masks and gloves will be required for all employees. In addition, each auditorium is extensively disinfected between showtimes using pressurized sprayers with products identified to be effective in eliminating COVID-19, according to company officials. All public and high-touch spaces will be thoroughly sanitized every 30 minutes.

John and Barb Semenek of Batavia used to go to the movies every Friday for more than 20 years as part of their weekly date night.

“And we work it out perfectly because we alternate weeks,” Barb Semenek said. “So one week it’s my pick and the next week it’s his.”

John Semenek is a self-professed movie fanatic.

Anna and Craig McQuade of Montgomery and their children Morgan, 6, and Nathan, 4, were at the theater to see “The Croods: A New Age.”

“We really like movies,” Anna McQuade said. “We like to get out and have family time. We’ve just been waiting patiently.”

But for Craig McQuade, it’s not just about seeing a movie.

“I love the popcorn,” he said.

Eric Schelkopf

Eric Schelkopf covers St. Charles and writes entertainment stories for the Kane County Chronicle.