Two suburban movie theaters are reopening seemingly in defiance of a state order that closed theaters across Illinois months ago due to the growing number of coronavirus cases in Illinois.
“The wait is finally over! Our doors open back up Friday afternoon!,” Marcus Elgin Cinema, 111 S. Randall Rd., posted on its Facebook page before listing the do’s and don’ts of visiting in person.
Joining Elgin Cinema in reopening is Marcus Addison Cinema, 1555 W. Lake St. in Addison, as well as Marcus’ Bloomington Cinema in downstate Bloomington.
The three theaters are part of a chain owned by the Milwaukee-based Marcus Theaters, which exhibits movies in 17 states across the country.
The move to reopen comes as all of Illinois’ 11 regions are still adhering to its Tier 3 resurgence mitigation plan, which prohibits — among other things — movie theaters from hosting in-person viewings.
Elgin Cinema is located in Kane County and Addison Cinema is in DuPage County, both in Region 8. Bloomington Cinema is located in McLean County and is part of Region 2.
The state has remained in that tier since November when the Midwest region faced a surge of coronavirus cases.
It’s unclear if these movie theaters are in regions that soon will leave Tier 3 for Tier 2, which will allow for movie theaters to reopen.
DuPage, Kane and McLean counties’ health departments and Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
A statement from Mari Randa, a spokeswoman for Marcus Theaters, didn’t address whether the theater chain was rebuffing a state order or if the theaters were located in regions that were set to fall off Tier 3 status.
“We are excited to reopen some of our Illinois locations and welcome guests back to see movies the way they were meant to be seen — on the big screen,” Randa said. “With our updated health and safety protocols and the fact that there has not been a reported case of COVID in theatres, we feel that moviegoing provides a safe escape.”
The reopening will let Chicago area customers see some of the holiday season’s biggest movies — including “Wonder Woman 1984” and “The Croods: A New Age” — on the big screen for the first time. No other Chicago area theaters are known to have opened since the tightening of restrictions in November.
Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.