Last year Cineworld Group, the owner of Regal Cinemas, closed international operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
That meant the shuttering of 719 theatres around the world, 549 in the USA and two in Volusia County. Now, one of those two will reopen. Regal Pavilion & RPX in Port Orange May 14 will once again swing its doors open to the public with a full slate of movies.
The theatre has the following sign posted on many of its windows:
“To Our Valued Customers,
We are excited to announce this location will be reopening on May 14th, 2021. We can’t wait to welcome you back as we once again continue to be the 'Best Place to Watch a Movie.' Please visit REGMovies.com for further information regarding showtimes and our COVID-19 protocols. See you soon!”
It doesn’t appear the same happy story can be written for the Regal Ormond Beach Cinema. A recent drive by of that location shows all the signage has been removed from both the marquee and the building itself. There were no notes posted on windows stating a reopening was in the works. At presstime, Regal was not able to verify the future of the Ormond Beach location.
It is Regal Cinemas stated goal to, "To provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees and guests.” To meet that commitment, Port Orange’s Regal Pavilion & RPX is following protocols instituted by the National Association of Theatre Owners.
In brief they are:
•Guests are required to wear a face mask at all times while in the theatre lobby, auditoriums and restrooms.
•Masks can be removed only while eating and drinking as long as you are seated in the auditorium.
•Auditorium capacity is based on state mandates.
•There is an option to purchase tickets and food on the Regal mobile app.
•Regal employees will undergo daily health screenings and wash hands every 30 to 60 minutes.
Box office ticket sales were down 80% in 2020. If the theatre serves as an anchor tenant (a store that brings in people who frequent other stores in the shopping center) the effect of the box office slump was worse. Regal Pavilion & RPX serves as an anchor store for The Pavilion at Port Orange.
San Diego Bar and Grill is but a stone’s throw away from the theater or less than 10 minutes from your movies end to walking through the restaurant’s front door.
The initial reaction of the grill's General Manager Chris Morris was a euphoric, “Nice! I am psyched!”
“A lot of people have voiced their concerns about (Regal Pavilion) not coming back, because that's what I was told, that the company is not coming back,” Mr. Morris said.
“I think it was Tuesdays when movies were discounted,” he said. “And we got a huge influx (of customers) you could sit right here and see the people walk from there (pointing towards the Regal Pavilion & RPX). And I knew they're coming either here or Gabby's or Red Robin. That'll come back, 100%, that'll definitely come back.”
How hard was San Diego Bar and Grill affected by Regal Pavilion not operating?
“It’s really difficult to make that assessment, because of Covid, our business drops, exponentially, of course,” Mr. Morris said. “And then when we got the dining room back, it still remained a pandemic, so there's no real standard. A lot of people have not stopped coming here, but (not) as frequently because it used to be a big thing, movie night, dinner, a lot of people would swing by.”
He believes the business spillover from the cinema will return. “Don't see any reason to think that it's not going to come right back the way it was,” Mr. Morris said. “I am already seeing so many more people coming out, so many more people are dining inside.”
A tour around the Volusia County theater scene shows that Satellite Cinema Ocean Walk (Daytona Beach) is temporarily closed. AMC Classic New Smyrna 12 has decided to open three days a week, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Epic Theatres of West Volusia (Deltona) is open the second most often at five days a week, Thursday to Sunday, and Tuesday, including the Drive-In. CMX Daytona Luxury 12 (Shoppes at One Daytona) is open seven days a week.
Each open theatre checked touts the benefits of its Covid-19 policy and offers some arrangement of online or mobile ordering of either food, tickets or both.
When Regal Cinemas temporarily closed, their parent, Cineworld Group stated, “We value your patronage and have no doubt we will be serving you again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters." For Regal Pavilion & RPX in Port Orange that time is right around the corner.
As Mr. Morris stated, “The movie theatre coming back will be a tremendous help.”