Gov. Phil Murphy permitted the reopening New Jersey movie theaters on Sept. 4, and some Seton Hall students expressed mixed feelings about catching the latest blockbusters in the midst of a pandemic.
Theaters may be filled up to 25% capacity or a maximum of 150 moviegoers. They also must require visitors to wear masks and implement social distancing guidelines.
Despite this development in New Jersey’s COVID-19 reopening, some students said they are not ready to return to the theaters.
“I am not particularly excited about movie theaters opening up in New Jersey,” Oliver De Leon, a sophomore secondary education and English major, said. “I know a lot of people go and leave food everywhere, so what are the ways employees will safely discard the food? How will the cloth seats be sanitized after every movie?”
De Leon said that to maintain a clean theater and everyone’s safety, both employees and patrons should be involved in the process. He said a proper way to clean “is for both parties to spray used seats and to have employees pick up the leftover garbage with garbage-picking tools and gloves.”
Students also reflected on the differences the theaters might implement as a result of COVID-19 and how it would affect the experience.
George Makris, a sophomore financial technology major, said patrons should still buy their drinks and snacks at the concessions instead of bringing their own, bearing in mind the idea of “concession stands as a source of revenue.”
“Without the stands, it would take away the whole experience of going to the movies,” Makris said.
Other students said they were open to returning as long as the theaters were properly cleaned and protected people from the virus.
“I am open to going, given that the theaters are following guidelines,” Ashley Lall, a junior biology major, said.
Makris also said he would be open to returning to the movies “as long as proper precautions, such as masks and closing a number of seats, is possible.”
Lall said she has not gone to the movies yet due to a lack of time and is unsure about which movie to see. She also said she misses the movie theater experience.
“I specifically miss the surround sound and the AMC Theatres where they have the reclining seats,” Lall said. “I also miss the popcorn.”
Ahmed Ibrahim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.