VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The COVID-19 crisis is threatening a summertime tradition for many. At Cinema Café, however the show must go on.
“We’re excited to see a movie,” said one woman buying a ticket.
The local theater chain started welcoming movie lovers back to two of their five locations over the past week. The Pembroke Meadows and Edinburgh locations opened Aug. 7. But, it’s not those big blockbusters that are showing.
The pandemic pushed back release dates for new movies. Instead, classics like Back to the Future have been playing out on the big screen. For families like the Holland’s, that’s okay with them.
“I would give it two thumbs up,” said 11-year-old Emma Holland, who saw Grown Ups with her younger brother and mother.
“It was great,” said Emma’s mother Jodi Holland. “Service was great. It’s just nice especially on a rainy day like today.”
New safety and health measures are in place to keep moviegoers safe. There’s frequent disinfecting, markers for social distancing and moviegoers must wear a mask inside the theater unless they’re drinking or eating.
Even with restrictions, Cinema Cafe Marketing Director Caitlin Walker said they’ve had tons of people coming in mainly for that shared experience.
“People have a chance to laugh together to cry together to be excited together,” she said. “Being cooped up for so long, people have really missed that.”
The local chain has had a head start on major movie chains like AMC and Regal, which will open next week, Aug. 20 and Aug. 21, respectfully. Cinema Café isn’t afraid of the competition. Walker said they offer a unique experience that you don’t typically see at megaplexes.
“As a dine-in theater we’re more than a movie,” she said.
Cinema Café offers restaurant food and service as you watch.
“We have a full-service restaurant experience in any movie, from sitting down and a server taking your order, to delivery throughout the movie,” Walker said. “You can order dessert at any point, and you close out your tab at the end of the movie just like you would at a restaurant.”
New movie releases will be back at Cinema Café on Friday, Aug. 21 when they plan on reopening the remaining three locations, Greenbrier, Riverdale, and Kemps River.