WAITE PARK – It’s just about showtime for Marcus Parkwood Cinema.

The movie theater, located at 1533 Frontage Rd. N. in Waite Park, will begin showing films Friday, Aug. 21 after remaining closed for months due to COVID-19.

Parkwood is one of 35 Marcus Theaters reopening Friday. Mari Randa, Director of Marketing and Communications for Marcus Theaters, says the process of slowly reopening the company's 91 theaters around the country has been “very involved.”

“In late June, we decided to open up six theaters as test locations,” she explained. “We implemented updated protocols, and followed CDC and local guidelines, and tested those out. We didn’t have any new movies to play at that time, so we just played the classics and got back into the groove.”

As per Minnesota law, movie theaters are limited to 25-percent capacity at all times. Randa says customers will be asked to remain six feet apart inside the building. Parkwood staff will routinely clean and sanitize the theater, and customers will have access to hand sanitizing stations.

“We’ve set up staggered seating – we call it checkerboard seating,” she explained. “Let’s say you’re in row one. You’ll see two seats on, two seats off, two seats on, and so forth. Then, the row behind that one will start with two seats off, followed by two seats on, so that there’s no one sitting directly next, in front or behind you, giving you your space while you watch the movie.”

Randa says they recommend buying movie tickets, snacks and drinks in advance using the Marcus website or mobile app to get people through the doors and into their seats as quickly as possible.

“We want everyone to do their part and respect everyone that comes into the building,” she says. “Our associates will be wearing masks, and we ask our guests to wear masks as well.”

For more information, and a list of upcoming movies, visit the Marcus Parkwood Cinema website.