Movie theaters, bowling alleys, other social venues set to reopen Monday in Michigan

COVID-19 has made for a very long past nine months. The pandemic turned our lives upside down. Businesses shut down in Michigan and many restrictions were put in place.

But last week, the Pfizer vaccine became available. Then on Friday, after case rates have seen a steady decline in Michigan for several weeks, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced casinos, bowling alleys and movie theaters will be allowed to reopen on Monday, Dec. 21. 

They were able to open a short time during the fall, but due to a massive increase of COVID-19 cases, they were ordered to shut down a short time later. However, things will be different this time around. 

"The parameters which we’re allowed to open preclude us from offering food and beverage, the premises is folks should leave their masks on at all times," said Emagine Entertainment CEO, Paul Glantz. 

But popcorn and movies go hand and had for the moviegoers and theaters themselves.  

"In our case, 48% of our revenue come from other things than ticket sales," Paul said. "So we’re opening with one arm tied behind out backs, but again glass is half full circumstance. We’re just delighted people are going to be able to visit the movies during the holiday season."

Emagine Theaters across Metro Detroit will be opening Wednesday at 20% capacity. Tom Hanks new movie, News of the World and Wonder Woman 1984, are expected to be top attractions - just in time for Christmas. 

"The week before Christmas and New Year’s, is typically the biggest week of the year," Paul said. 

Other restrictions that were initially set on Nov. 15 have been extended, meaning indoor dining is still prohibited, night clubs are still closed and organized indoor sports are still barred. Workplaces, when work can be done from home, are also not allowed to reopen yet, and group fitness classes are still not allowed to resume. 

Those restrictions have been extended through January 15, 2021 and come after the state has seen a steady decline in case rates for at least three weeks. The state, though, is still reporting thousands of new cases per day and dozens of new deaths per day.

Here is a full list of businesses still not open under the MDHHS's epidemic order: 

  • Workplaces, when work can be done from home
  • Restaurants and bars (indoor dining)
  • Night clubs
  • Indoor sports and contact sports, except professional sports
  • Trampoline parks, water parks
  • Indoor group fitness classs

Here is a full list of businesses and gatherings allowed under the MDHHS's epidemic order: 

  • Two-household gatherings (with high precautions)
  • Small outdoor gatherings (25 people)
  • Funerals (25 people)
  • Retail
  • Preschool through 12th grade, local district choice
  • Childcare 
  • Manufacturing, construction, other work that is impossible to do remotely
  • Public transit
  • Hair salons, barber shops, other personal services
  • Gyms, pools, roller and ice rinks (for individual exercise) 
  • Restaurants and bars (outdoor dining, takeout and delivery)
  • Professional sports
  • Parks and outdoor recreation
  • Health care
  • Theaters, movie theaters, stadiums, arenas
  • Bowling centers
  • Bingo halls, casinos, arcades
  • Outdoor group fitness classes and non-contact sports