Movies roll again at Galaxy Cinemas

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Galaxy Cinemas reopens Friday after fading to black for five months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Station Mall theatre’s return, accompanied by numerous safety protocols including reduced seating to encourage social distancing and stepped-up cleaning efforts, coincides with the first new titles released by Hollywood in months.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run and Unhinged join a 10th anniversary showing of director Christopher Nolan’s science-fiction thriller, Inception, at Galaxy’s seven screens. Nolan’s Tenet is due for an Aug. 27 release.

This is a big weekend,” said Sarah Van Lange, executive director of communications with Cineplex. “It’s a big theatrical moment (Friday) and we’re really excited about it.”

Show times start at 1:30 p.m. and continue until 9:15 p.m.

Every second row in auditoriums will be blocked off. Seats must be reserved. Pairs of seats will be separated by three empty seats on each side. Auditoriums will accommodate only about 20 to 30 patrons.


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Movie-goers will be expected to follow Algoma Public Health guidelines and wear a face mask at Galaxy unless they are in their seat eating or drinking snacks.

There’s lots of changes that have been put in place, so the experience of entering our theatre and exiting our theatre will be different, but the experience you have once you’re in your seat will be the same, the one that we’ve all missed,” said Van Lange.

She declined to say if Cineplex can turn a profit with the reduced seating levels.

Our focus right now is on welcoming guests back into our theatres,” she said.

Cash will only be accepted to buy theatre gift cards that then can be used for purchases at Galaxy. Tickets can be purchased online at, by using the Cineplex app or self-serve kiosks.

We’re really relying on credit, debit and contactless payment just because of the safety aspect,” said Van Lange.

Seats, handrails and children’s booster seats will be wiped down with “industrial-grade cleaning products” between screenings. Hand sanitizer will be in the lobby and games area. Employees will have gloves available and must wash their hands at least every 30 minutes, Cineplex says.

We’ve really used this time (since March) to diligently plan for (Friday) and the team is thrilled,” said Van Lange.

As of Friday, 137 of Cineplex’s 164 Canadian theatres will be reopened. The company expects all of its screens to be back in business by Aug. 21 as part of what Van Lange calls a “very phased approach” to showing movies again.

Galaxy Cinemas was dark since March 16.

On Twitter: @Saultreporter