By Elly Cosgrove | April 23, 2021 at 10:39 PM EDT – Updated April 23 at 10:58 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The Pointe 14 movie theater opened to moviegoers on Friday for the first time in 13 months after being closed due to the pandemic.
The theater opened its doors as a vaccine site earlier this year, but movie lovers and the surrounding businesses are excited to return to some form of normal.
“It’s been a tough year for us here at Zocalo. We’ve actually done okay, probably better than most. We’ve been able to survive thanks to everybody that supported us,” said Julio Camberos, general manager of Zocalo Street Food Tequila, which sits across from The Pointe. “Very excited the movie theater is opening up; there will be a lot of traffic coming in. We’re always ready for those movie times when they come in and out, we see all the cars lined up out here.”
The general manager at the Tavern on 17th, Elizabeth Adams, also said they expect a great turnout over the next couple of weeks now that the anchor tenant is back open.
“It’s great to get all of the traffic to come back through from the people with the movie theater,” Adams said. “It was hard when you go from having people, you know, in and out all the time to where it’s a ghost town.”
Things look different inside the movie theater with many safety precautions in place.
“We’re running everything, all of our theaters at 30-to-40%, so we’re not having as many seats filled. And in our large theaters we’re having every other row blocked off for everyone,” said The Pointe Assistant Manager Taylor Meek. “In every theater we have signs saying keep six feet apart, usually we recommend about three seats in between all groups. We’re also requiring masks when people are not eating their popcorn or drinking or anything.”
While things are not completely back to normal inside the theater, many were just happy to see movies on the big screen again.
Brianna Johnston and Ben Schulte met during the pandemic and both love movies. They have been looking forward to their first date to the movies.
“We’re a COVID couple so it’s — we haven’t really been on a date to the movies yet — so it’s really exciting,” Johnston said.
“It was a bit of a bummer not being able to go to the movies during the pandemic,” Schulte added.
Robin Owens took a trip to The Pointe today to see a movie. While she knows there is still a long ways to go and safety precautions are still necessary, she is happy to be out in the community again.
“It’s been a long year, long year,” Owens said. ”I’m just excited that we’re able to get out and reconnect in the community again and be able to just tap into who we once were back before COVID.”
Perhaps the most excited of all, however, are the people who work at The Pointe.
“I know that a lot of us haven’t been working during that time, so it’s really exciting to be back again and a lot of us are super into the movies as well,” Meek said. “I’m just glad that we’re going to have people again. I’ve missed people, even though I am going to be a little bit further from them, I’ve missed having people, I’ve missed having the movies.”
Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.