MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A theater in the Triangle is welcoming back guests for the first time in a year.
The B&B Theatre at 3400 Village Market Place Park West opened Thursday evening with full showings starting on Friday.
It’s been a year since this theater’s filled up its seats.
“People reached out to us during that time of closure saying, ‘Man, I miss going to the movies,'” said Paul Farnsworth, public relations director for B&B Theatres. “There’s really nothing like the big screen movie.”
B&B Theatres took over the building in Morrisville within the past month or so. It is re-opening this week at 50-percent capacity. Along with other safety measures, guests will be required to wear masks in public areas, except when in their seats.
They expect showings to really pick up after Memorial Day since several new movies will be released around then.
Theaters were forced closed in the pandemic. They’re one of the hardest-hit industries, behind the accommodation and food service industries.
“It’s been a challenge — not only here, but really everywhere as we try to reopen to get folks to come back to work,” Farnsworth said.
He said many former employees had to find other jobs, but they’ve still received a lot of applications.
“It still is a challenge. We’re pretty aggressive in our advertising that we’re now hiring,” Farnsworth said.
Experts said the Triangle’s unemployment rate is at 4 percent, which means 5,000 more people are without jobs than prior to the pandemic.
“Nationally, the labor market has been a rollercoaster for the last year or so now,” said John Quinterno, visiting professor at Duke University.
Quinterno said the virus and mandates will keep dictating where the economy goes.
“Just because a restaurant could seat 100 percent capacity doesn’t mean people are going to want to necessarily go spend their time in a crowded indoor restaurant,” Quinterno said. “Ultimately, I think while the virus conditions seem to have improved over the course of the year, we are still in the midst of the pandemic and the virus and what happens there is going to drive so much of people’s behavior and what we have to do going forward.”