Movie theaters, other entertainment businesses reopen in SWFL

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Jack Lowenstein
AMC Merchant’s Crossing reopened in late August following its closure in March due to the pandemic. (Credit: WINK News)

Movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades are back in business.

AMC Merchant Crossing 16 in North Fort Myers reopened Thursday.

The first guests back at the movie theater found signs pointing out required masks and social distancing. There are also sanitizing stations and disinfectant wipes present. It’s all to get folks back out there and at other entertainment places to have a good time safely.

Serenity Black and Ever Johnson say they both planned to go the AMC reopening night a week in advance.

“This is like our first outing so far,” Black said.

With masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer and cashless transactions as a top priority, the theater welcomed a good-sized crowd back to the big screens safely.

“I’m kind of excited. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the movie theater,” Osuna said. “I think a lot of people are getting bored of sitting inside the house so I think more people will start to come outside.”

Staff at places such as the Retro Zone Arcade in Fort Myers say that’s exactly what’s happening for them, as more people start to pour in more regularly to play games.

At HeadPinz in Fort Myers, bowling league members say they’ve seen an increase in bowlers over the past few weeks, as COVID-19 numbers started to decrease.

“Thursday nights used to be pretty dead,” Jason Wyrick said. “Now, it’s picking up.”

“People are coming with their families, and they are becoming bigger and bigger crowds,” Jim Cairo said.

And as community members bowl strikes and spares safely with individual balls and social distancing, businesses hope more people will keep entertainment businesses alive.

“Places like this need more people to come out and support them,” Cairo said.

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