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The AMC Fayetteville 14 theater is back open, with enhanced safety measures in place throughout the venue.

With North Carolina’s move into Phase 3 of its COVID-19 reopening plan, movie theaters were finally given the approval to reopen – albeit at some limited capacities. Several theaters in Fayetteville are excitedly reopening.

Starting October 9, the two AMC theater locations in Fayetteville will open at about 30 percent capacity to meet North Carolina standards. This includes the AMC Fayetteville 14 IMAX on Lake Valley Drive, and the AMC Market Fair 15 on Skibo Road. For Allen McWhorter, the General Manager of the Lake Valley Drive location, this is an exciting day for his team.

“The last few months have been spent keeping the theatre clean and operational while in eager anticipation of opening the doors once again,” McWhorter told WKML. “I am looking forward to making smiles happen, even though they will be behind a mask.”

McWhorter said there a number of new safety protocols in place, including touchless Coke dispensers you’ll operate from your phone, and the AMC Safe and Clean program that plans for additional cleaning measures throughout the theater, and of course mask requirements.

AMC has specific guidelines in place about masks, with signage telling you to put a mask on when you come in. They must be worn at all times, including during the film unless you are eating or drinking.

Because most of the major studios have moved many large films off the schedule this year, the showings at all theaters may not be as big as normal. For the AMC Fayetteville 14 opening, there are only a couple of first-run films showing starting today, but a number of older films that will still be great on the big screen. “The War With Grandpa” and “Tenet” are among the “new” films for McWhorter’s screens currently. And “Tenet” is showing on the IMAX screen as well. Other features opening now include “Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary,” “Coco,” and “Hocus Pocus,” among others.

“There is nothing like watching a movie on the big screen, even older features,” McWhorter said. “The total experience is an escape that cannot be found at home.”

Omni Cinemas is the only other theater currently open in Fayetteville, while Millstone and Cameo Art House are both planning for later openings. Omni had been having drive-in shows in their parking lot the last several months.

Brandon Plotnick is a former sports journalist, now living in the digital space with interests all over the musical and pop culture map.