The smell of fresh, hot, salty popcorn has returned to the air after the Gawler Cinema was officially re-opened over the weekend.
Proud owners, Joy and John Thorpe were forced to shut down six months ago due to COVID-19, and it was ‘unviable’ for them to re-open until now due to a lack of new films.
This was the first time the pair have had to close their doors. John has been there since day dot, 31 years ago and Joy, just over 20.
“We really thought 2020 would be a great year, with great new product, but we had to close right before school holidays,” said Joy.
“I think all of us were just so unsure what COVID meant for business.”
Welcoming families, children and people of all ages back into the comfort and homely feeling of their cinema on Friday was exciting for the pair after being closed for so long.
“I think people are ready to get back out again, they have watched everything on Stan and Netflix,” laughed Joy.
“It was just so good to see everyone again and their smiling faces, and have that social connection people have missed.”
During the six month hiatus, some staff remained on JobKeeper, helping to re-paint, carpet and re-curtain the premises.
For them, it was about looking at ways to adapt and adjust their business to hopefully encourage more visitors upon re-opening.
Joy and John have also implemented their COVID-safe plan, which includes distances between movie-goers in the cinema to abide by social distancing requirements.
Until restrictions ease further and more movies are being released, Gawler Cinema will remain open during their most popular times – Wednesday for matinee sessions, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
But come school holidays in October, they are looking to be open all week.
Their Silver Screening sessions will also slowly make a re-appearance, as well as the opportunity for social and fundraising events much later down the track.
“Overall it’s looking really positive. There’s a choice of new movies, rather than playing re-runs, and more new releases in the coming weeks. It’s exciting for everyone,” said Joy.
“We’re here with open arms and just need that continued support from the community, like any business during this time.”