TULSA — Circle Cinema, Tulsa's beloved, and only, nonprofit and historic art house style theater, says they are in the early stages of creating a reopening plan.
Although Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced on April 24 that Phase I of Oklahoma Gov. Stitt's OURS plan would take effect on May 1, Circle Cinema has announced they are choosing not to reopen on that date.
“While there has been a decline in COVID-19 cases statewide which allows the state of Oklahoma to meet the federal guidelines, the mayor of Tulsa and the director of the Tulsa Health Department report that the virus is not yet in decline in the city of Tulsa. Local leaders advise businesses that are allowed to reopen to advance with caution and Circle Cinema intends to do so,” said Stephanie LaFevers, Circle Cinema Foundation executive director.
Circle Cinema voluntarily closed their doors on March 16. LaFevers says this is the first time the theater, as a nonprofit, has closed it's doors since 2004.
Since the theater closed their doors, they have gained both local and national support through memberships, donations and gift card purchases.
The theater, located in the Kendall Whittier district, has remained engaged with their audiences by offering films to be streamed at home. “While we haven’t been able to show films at the Circle, we’ve appreciated that film distributors have provided Circle Cinema with many different film streaming opportunities that we’ve been able to give to our audiences, including several new films that would have shown at Circle. While it is not quite the same as going to the movies, we are happy to provide opportunities for people to stream new films, repertory films and film events, while staying safe at home,” said Chuck Foxen, Circle Cinema film programmer.
Also, since mid April, Circle Cinema has been offering the public the ability to rent their iconic marquee sign for customized messages. These messages can be for birthdays, graduations, anniversaries as well as encouraging messages during the coronavirus pandemic.
As far as reopening, officials say they will continue to monitor federal, state and local recommended guidelines in order to provide a safe environment for their audience, staff and supporters. “We anticipate that perhaps it will be possible that a gradual, soft reopening process could begin sometime later in May by simply offering curbside popcorn as we continue to provide online film streaming opportunities for people to watch at home. We are hopeful that it might even be possible to begin offering films at our cinema in late June or by mid-July, in time for Circle Cinema’s 92nd birthday on July 15, but that remains to be seen depending on local and state recommendations and COVID-19 developments,“ LaFevers said.
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