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Some suburban movie theaters back in business

Forced by the state to close over the holidays, cinemas in Wheaton, Schaumburg and elsewhere are reopening after getting the official go-ahead.

Studio Movie Grill in Wheaton resumed showing movies on Thursday.
SMG Wheaton

After a trial balloon that popped last week, some indoor movie theaters in the Chicago suburbs are going forward with plans to reopen, now that it’s legal.

Illinoi on Monday loosened COVID-19 restrictions on Cook County and most of the surrounding areas from Tier 3 to Tier 2, allowing movie theaters, among other businesses, to resume in-person operations.

Apparently first to open its doors was Studio Movie Grill Wheaton, which was admitting guests to see “Wonder Woman 1984,” “The Marksman” and other hits on Thursday afternoon.

Marcus Cinemas in Addison, Country Club Hills, Orland Park, Gurnee and Elgin plan to reopen Friday, as do AMC locations in Crestwood and Schaumburg. In Frankfort, the Emagine multiplex is selling tickets for shows on Saturday.

Most of the AMC theaters in the Chicago area have announced Jan. 29 reopenings.

Each theater is operating with protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including mask requirements, limited and spaced-out seating and altered ordering protocols for food and drink.

Movie fans have been unable to watch films on big indoor screens since restrictions were tightened in November. Marcus Cinemas briefly announced several reopenings last week but reversed itself Friday in response to the area’s coronavirus metrics.

At least one of last summer’s pop-up drive-ins, ChiTown Movies in Pilsen, has continued to operate and plans to keep showing old movies outdoors into at least February. And theaters across the border in Wisconsin and Indiana have remained open for business.