Mid-Michigan theater owner addresses reopening following green light from Lansing

“It was a one, two punch of happiness.”
Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 11:14 PM EDT
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VASSAR, Mich. (WJRT) (09/25/2020)-All smiles from theater owners, for one, after Governor Whitmer gave the green light to reopen. In her Friday executive order, the governor cited a consistently low seven-day case positivity rate and relatively modest case growth despite widespread reopenings.

Affected businesses include: indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities, trampoline parks, and more.

For one local theater owner, it’s a story that’s now come full circle: The last six months have proven a balancing act in more ways than one and yet, atop a ladder, swapping out the metal letters on his marquis to reflect the theater’s reopening date, this small town cinemaphile was more than happy to give it one final go Friday.

“We used to say, happy ending, coming soon,” began Andreas Fuchs. “But, now it’s here… first show probably 4:00.”

ABC 12 first touched-base with Fuchs, who owns the Vassar Theatre, in the middle of month four…

“We have been closed since March 16, which means zero income,” related Fuchs in a July interview.

And later, in month six, when the situation seemed as dire as ever.

“Do you feel as though you’re ready for a reopen? Do you feel people will be safe here?”

“Absolutely,” responded Fuchs earlier this month.

“We’re very excited,” said Fuchs Friday. “It’s been a long time and we know safety was first.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer paved the way to reopening Friday. Executive Order 2020-183 gives movie theaters, bowling alleys and others the green light to open for business at a reduced, 20 percent capacity with a 500 person maximum for the state’s largest venues, though safety remains at the forefront.

Fuchs walked ABC 12 through his new routine earlier this month, soon after he’d revamped every aisle to COVID standards.

“It feels great,” related Fuchs. “It feels even better that you were the one who told us. You were on the phone within minutes of the official press release.”

As he swapped out his signage Friday, Fuchs was still deciding what he would show first.

“We were lucky enough to tie into another government support program,” explained Fuchs. “That happened actually while we heard we were reopening. It was a one, two punch of happiness.”

Theaters statewide can open as early as October 9, two weeks from now. This small town single screen, for one, will have the popcorn ready.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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