DALLAS — When the Oregon Health Authority downgraded Polk County’s risk level last week from Extreme to High Risk, restrictions on attending many venues were loosened.
The Dallas Cinema wasted no time announcing on Facebook it was opening back up on Feb. 26 to actually show movies.
The Mitchell family of five drove all the way from Corvallis to attend, being the closest cinema to them.
For example, the Independence Cinema remains closed. While happy to see the county moving toward more reopenings, the Independence Cinema wrote on its Facebook page they’ve decided to wait a little longer.
“We will wait to reopen until there are viable movies back on the calendar and we have more time to see how the new strains of COVID progress,” their Facebook post read. “The hardest thing on a small business so devastated by these closures would be to reopen only to have to close down again. We did it this fall, and we could not repeat that scenario and survive. Dependent on many moving parts, we are hoping to reopen in spring, in time for the Marvel Black Widow premiere, which is the first big theatrical exclusive of the year!”
Meanwhile, locals like Kim Franks are excited to get out the house with son Mathew and nephew Morales, 5, to see the latest animated feature, “Tom and Jerry.”
“Having things open up is getting us a little back to normalcy,” Kim said. “I don’t think we’ll ever be back to normal. But the day we can get rid of the masks I’ll be happier. We’re all doing our part in Dallas.”
Doing their part keeping their patrons safe were Dallas Cinema staff. Emily Smith said while the theater has 102 seats, the guidelines still only allow 50 to attend. So they’ve got seating blocked off by precaution tape to enforce social distancing. And they spray down all the doors and seats before and after each showing.
While most attendees made reservations, a few seats remained Friday night for the 4 p.m. showing for stragglers to walk up for the near sellout, Smith said.
In addition, they were greeted with familiar and enticing aroma of popcorn from the lobby.
“At first, we were not able to offer snacks. Then they lifted that restriction, so we’re selling snacks too,” Smith said.
Smith said Dallas Cinema usually shows family friend fare. Even though, they were able to show the premier of “Tom and Jerry” for their reopening, because so few new movies had been released over the summer, Smith said Dallas Cinema had been showing many classics.
“We showed ‘Star Wars’ and people loved it,” she said. “Once we open up again, we’ll show what will be most popular in the community.”
She added while the cinema had been selling snacks during the shutdown, it just wasn’t the same as offering them with a movie viewing experience.
“It’s not the same vibe you’d normally get. I love the idea of having movies and smelling popcorn,” Smith said. “We were so excited to be back open showing movies.”
While walkups tickets will be sold if space is available, Smith recommended making reservations to avoid sellouts in the smaller allotted space.
The Dallas Cinema
166 SE Mill St.
“Tom and Jerry” - March 5-7
“The Croods: A New Age” - March 12-14
Friday: 4 and 7 p.m.
Saturday: 1, 4 & 7 p.m.
Sunday: 1:30 & 4 p.m.
Tickets: $6 matinees,