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Movies expected to return to Massillon Regal theater this month

 The Regal movie theater is expected to reopen this month after being shut down for more than a year.

According to the Massillon Regal website, the theater at 175 Cherry Road NW is set to open May 14.

A spokesperson for the company said the date is not set in stone, adding that things change by the day because of COVID-19. The company expects to have more details next week.

Officials announced plans to reopen several locations in Northeast Ohio, including Massillon, Regal Interstate Park in Green and Regal Montrose Movie in Fairlawn this month.

Just two months after they began reopening theaters across the country, the theater chain closed all of its more than 500 theaters Oct. 8 citing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials said the closures were temporary.

Massillon's 12-screen theater closed last March when Gov. Mike DeWine issued a stay-at-home order as the virus began to take hold across the United States and has remained closed.

City Economic Development Director Dave Maley welcomed the news.

He's heard from residents seeking information about when the theater would open its doors for business as well as other who were concerned it would never show movies again.

"I think we are excited about getting them back and getting them open," Maley said. "It's an opportunity for people to get out and get back to normal."

People have missed seeing movies on the big screen and they want to experience that again, he said. 

Officials have been working to expand entertainment options when visiting downtown Massillon. 

"We are trying to create that atmosphere and to get people to come downtown. The theater is an important part of that," he said.

The return of the theater also gives local eateries a boost, he said. 

Dinner and movie go hand in hand.

"It grows the pie. The more people we can get downtown for activity, the better. They may come for dinner and go to a movie or catch a drink," Maley said. 

Regal Cinemas began a phased reopening with a limited number of theaters opening on April 2 for "Godzilla vs. Kong," with more opening later that month.

In a video, officials said the theaters will reopen with limited seating capacity and reduced group sizes to allow for social distancing and compliance with local and regional mandates.

Guests and employees will be required to wear masks. Guests can remove their masks inside the theater only if they are eating or drinking.

Wall-mounted sanitizers have been placed at the entrance and other key areas of the facility.

Employees will undergo daily screenings. Public areas will be cleaned frequently and continuously throughout the day and theaters will be sanitized after every movie.

Guests can use the theater's app to purchase tickets, reserve seats and now order concessions to allow for a contactless visit.

Cinemark Tinseltown USA, a 17-screen state-of-the-art theater on the Strip, reopened in July. The Cinemark Movie Bistro also opened.

The Lynn Drive In in Strasburg showed movies last season and opened a few weeks ago. 


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