After more than a year of being closed due to the pandemic, Paragon Sandhills is back from its extended intermission.
Beginning April 16, the Southern Pines multiplex will be showing movies on the silver screen at 50 percent occupancy on the weekends. Paragon Sandhills closed in March of 2020 after the governor issued an executive order closing down theaters to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We are happy to be back,” said Paragon Theaters CEO Mike Whalen in a phone call with Sandhills Sentinel on Friday.
Even though Paragon Sandhills could have opened in the fall per a new executive order, they remained closed.
“Surprisingly, this is not a lockdown issue — or even an issue of demand. It’s that film companies aren’t ready to release those blockbusters yet,” Whalen told Sandhills Sentinel in October.
In late 2018, the Florida-based Paragon Theaters acquired Sandhills Cinema and undertook an extensive remodeling project which lasted nine months and cost approximately $3 million.
Paragon Theater’s CEO Mike Whalen getting comfortable in the new reclining seats in January 2020 after renovations.
Shortly after the renovations, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in late January 2020 to celebrate the completion of the improvements which included the installation of luxury leather recliners, an upgraded lobby and concession stand, renovated restrooms, common areas and parking lot. Then the coronavirus hit, and the lockdown began several weeks later.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place just before the theater closed unexpectedly due to COVID-19.
“Safety is first,” said Whalen. Plexiglass safety shields will be positioned throughout the theater for added protection during person-to-person interaction.
High contact points such as countertops, door handles, and faucets will be disinfected every 30 minutes. Hand sanitizer stations will be available to the customers and staff. The theater will utilize an air purifier in the lobby for added protection. Face masks are required.
Whalen said by the end of May, the cinema will be open full-time.
Customers can use the Paragon app to limit person-to-person interaction to purchase tickets, reserve a seat, and order food and beverage ahead of time.