Amherst Cinema opening to full capacity with new vaccination policy

  • Amherst Cinema FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/23/2021 4:09:48 PM

AMHERST — Amherst Cinema will open its theaters to full capacity later this week, but in doing so will require moviegoers to prove they have received COVID-19 vaccinations or are not infected with the virus.

On Oct. 29, operations of the 28 Amity St. site will return to normal but with a vaccination policy designed to keep both audiences and staff safe.

At the time of entering, patrons will have to present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of showtime, along with a valid photo ID.

The new entrance policy is consistent with other entertainment and performance venues in the region, such as the Academy of Music in Northampton, as well as for indoor events at the University of Massachusetts, including sports at the Mullins Center and activities at the Fine Arts Center.

The cinema issued a statement that the new vaccination policy “will help ensure the continued well-being and safety of our audiences and staff, which remains our top priority as we continue to navigate the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape.”

Masks and face coverings will continue to be required for all guests at the cinema, whether a person is vaccinated or not. Patrons can remove their masks only when eating or drinking in their theater seats.

Due to the verification process, people should plan to get to showings early.

Full capacity will be in effect as new movies debut, including “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which opens this week, and two movies that open Nov. 5, director Wes Anderson's ode to print journalism “The French Dispatch” starring Timothée Chalamet, and “Spencer,” a Diana, Princess of Wales biopic starring Kristen Stewart.

To accommodate varying comfort levels within the community, the Amherst Cinema is continuing to offer “Masked Mornings” on Saturdays and Sundays. These first screenings of the day are capped at 25% capacity and no concessions are sold, meaning that patrons will have their face coverings on at all times. Virtual screenings are also continuing.

Meantime, the cinema announced that it is one of seven independent arthouse cinemas across the United States that will show a specially curated selection of Sundance Film Festival movies during the closing weekend, Jan. 28 to Jan. 30, 2022.

Amherst Cinema is also returning the specialty series Bolshoi Ballet and Exhibition On Screen, along with a new “Big Scream Classics” series that are including showings of “The Shining,” “Get Out” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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