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Thurston County movie theater reopens with new COVID-19 precautions

The Century Olympia theater is only selling enough tickets to fill 25% of the theater and encouraging social distancing inside.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — An Olympia movie theater is back open and showing movies after being closed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.  

The Century Olympia Movie Theater opened Friday night showing a new Russell Crowe thriller – Unhinged, and other classic movies like Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  

Popcorn, sodas, and most of the snack bar favorites have returned but they’re now accompanied by cleaning wipes and face masks, along with other precautions to abide by state guidelines for reopening.

Laura McDowell said it didn’t seem like a big change. 

“My husband and I are huge movie buffs and we missed them since the state closed down movie theaters and we thought it would be fun to come back,” she said.

The theater is only selling enough tickets to fill 25% of the theater and encouraging social distancing inside. They clean inside the theaters in between showtimes and high-touch areas throughout the day. Many customers were excited to be back.

“It seems like they're doing the social distancing inside the theater so I feel safe about it,” Ray Rafols said.

In addition to the increased cleaning, they had to make some changes at the snack bar, they're not accepting cash and they can't do free refills. 

The water fountains and arcade are closed and there are other small signs that things have changed. Still, the popcorn smells just as enticing and the big screen can still give out that movie magic you can't get anywhere else. 

“Going to the movies is great escapism, especially when the world seems pretty dark sometimes,” McDowell said.

Thurston County remains in Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee's Safe Start reopening plan.

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