The first sign of the Crystal Theatre’s reopening was a literal sign, one on the marquee announcing, “Reopening soon. End of June.”
After a 15-month closure, theater owners Kathy and Bob Ezra wanted to spread the welcome news to passersby during June’s First Friday event.
The Ezras closed on March 13, 2020, three days before Governor Jared Polis closed theaters statewide. They anticipated a reopening by the end of summer, then the end of September, and then by the holidays.
As the prospects for a speedy reopening dwindled, they offered patrons a way to continue watching curated films by purchasing tickets through the website for online viewing at home.
Bob said film distributors offered independent theaters a way to engage moviegoers by having them order from a select group of film offerings to be viewed online. Then, in mid-June 2020, they announced virtual movie ticket sales. Bob said it was not that large of a moneymaker; instead, it was a way for theaters to “stay in the game.”
They also sold theater concessions at a walk-up window. “Some people probably really craved the popcorn too – they came every week,” Bob said.
The end of June reopening will be a “soft opening,” Kathy said, “To get everybody used to being back and comfortable being back.” She added, “I wish we could just throw a big party and have 125 people [seating capacity] in there, but we still can’t, so we’re looking at just kind of entering slowly.” For now, they will reopen with a capacity of 50 people.
Admission will require proof of vaccination, like a CDC vaccination record card, shown at the ticket window. Only fully-vaccinated patrons will be allowed admittance, and there will be no online ticket sales.
A sign posted on the theater window states, “If you have a medical exemption and are unable to be vaccinated, contact us.”
When asked how the vaccinated-only policy will be enforced, Kathy shared, “We really trust the honesty of our patrons.”
Other safeguards put in place include a fully-vaccinated and masked staff; four medical-grade air purifiers in the auditorium; daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces; and hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes available in the lobby.
The theater will be open Friday through Monday. Kathy said that is “subject to change, as we get rolling.” But, she added, “The more people who get vaccinated, we’ll look at increasing the seat count and maybe increasing the number of shows.”
The reasoning behind the current policy is, Kathy reiterated, “Right now, the safety and comfort of our patrons in returning to the theater is the highest priority, so we’re just easing on in. We’re hoping everyone will be patient, with us and with each other.”
The Ezras took over management of the Crystal Theatre in July 1985. The first film they ran was the cult classic, “The Breakfast Club”. The film slated for the theatre’s reopening is “Dream Horse,” starring Toni Collette.
Anticipating people are longing to return to the in-theater experience, Bob said, “It’s like going out to a restaurant versus eating at home. You can eat at home, so why do you go to a restaurant? You can watch movies at home, so why do you go to a movie theater?”
Bob relayed a recent encounter, saying, “The other day a guy stopped to tell me, ‘My wife and I said things will be back to normal when you reopen.'”
The Ezras anticipate seeing that gentleman and his wife at their ticket window soon.