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Malco Theatres to begin phased reopening next week

With businesses beginning to reopen, entertainment venues such as movie theatres are no exception.

On Wednesday, Malco Theatres announced they will begin a phased reopening of their locations starting on June 15. Locations in Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee will be reopened next week for the first time in nearly three months.

Malco closed all of its locations in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Malco is very excited to reopen theatres and welcome our customers back,” Malco president and COO David Tashie said in a statement. “We have been diligently working on implementing new measures and protocols to ensure the safety of our guests and employees, and we cannot wait for everyone to enjoy a night out experiencing movies on the big screen again.”

The Mississippi locations that will reopen next week include the Renaissance Cinema Grill in Ridgeland, Olive Branch Cinema Grill, DeSoto Cinema Grill in Southaven and the Tupelo Commons Cinema Grill.

Some of the safety protocols that Malco will have in place for customers include groups sitting at least six feet apart from other guests and every other row will be empty. Families will be allowed to sit together. The number of registers at concession stands has been reduced and reconfigured to follow social distancing guidelines with plexiglass barriers installed at registers.

Contactless payments and ticket redemptions, including pre-purchasing tickets, is encouraged.

New locations will be reopened every week through July 16. It is not known when Oxford’s two Malco locations, Oxford Studio Cinema and Oxford Commons Cinema Grill, will take part in the phased reopening. The Oxford Board of Aldermen voted on May 31 to require no more than 25 percent occupancy in all of the indoor screening rooms and no more than 50 percent occupancy at the Oxford Commons outdoor screen when the theatres do reopen.

Current plans are to offer new independent film releases “The King of Staten Island” and “The High Note,” along with a lineup of classic films such as “Jaws,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Madagascar” and “Indiana Jones.” Additional films include pre-COVID releases such as “Trolls: World Tour,” “I Still Believe” and “The Invisible Man.” Beginning July 1, Malco will show the new Russell Crowe film “Unhinged” followed by the new Christopher Nolan film “Tenet” on July 17, Disney’s “Mulan” on July 24 and “Spongebob: Sponge on the Run” on July 31.