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0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02e0000KPCW's COVID-19 news coverage for Summit County and Wasatch County, Utah. 0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02f0000You can also visit the Utah Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites for additional information.

Movie Theaters Open Cautiously Amid Covid

Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force

Summit County’s major multi-plex movie theatre, the Redstone 8 at Kimball Junction, re-opened in late August with Covid precautions.

Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough points out that the business didn’t go through his department or the County Board of Health.  

But they have been consulting with the Park City Film Series about a return to the Jim Santy Auditorium.

Bullough said that an entertainment venue, like the movie theater, opened under the governor’s guidelines for the Yellow Phase, which currently prevails in Summit County.    He said the Redstone 8 had to meet a checklist.    

“Those are things like social distancing.  If you can’t social distance, are they gonna have masks, their cleaning protocols, things like seating-chart protocols, if there is a density greater than what is allowed within social distancing guidelines.  And so we’ve had many many businesses that have completed those protocols.  But we’re not part of that discussion.”

At the same time, the records for the venue’s operation are available to County Health in case there’s an issue.       

“And the reason for that is if we had a case that came out of the theater, we need to know who the contacts are.  And so they keep a list of individuals, and who’s seating where.”

Bullough said they haven’t had a single complaint on the Redstone.

He said every movie fan has to make their own decision about going back inside a theater.   There are precautions you can take.      

“If you were particularly worried about the risk, you could wear an extra filter in your mask.  Or you could wear a KN-95 mask, which is very effective and easier to fit than a traditional N95.  So there’s different things you can do—obviously distance yourself as best you can from people.  I wouldn’t worry too much about going to the theater right now.   But at the same token, if I bought a ticket, and I walked into the place, and I saw that things weren’t such that I was comfortable, I would be willing to leave.  And I think that’s the decision that people need to make.”

Bullough said that his staff are doing rotating, drop-in inspections of all businesses that have re-opened, whether they are restaurants, theaters or shops.   He said if there’s an issue, education usually resolves the problem.

Meanwhile, the Park City Film Series is hoping to resume screenings for live audiences.   Bullough said he’s been conferring with Jenny Diersen for Park City Municipal, and  their plan looks good.        

“We’re part of the discussion.  We’re not gonna tell them that they can’t open, because it fits within the Yellow guideline, which is what we’re following.  At the same time, they’ve been really good about including us in the discussions.   And I’m comfortable with their plan—greatly reduced numbers, social distancing.  They’re taking cleaning precautions, everything that is within those mitigative measures that are being recommended, they’re honed in on.  So I’m rooting for em.”

Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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