Avon Theatre is Open with Stringent Safety Protocols and Wonderful Independent Films

Letter To the Editor from Stuart Adelberg, Executive Director, Avon Theatre Film Center

Over the past few days the local, regional, and national media has done a great job reporting on the reopening of large movie theater chains in select markets and their detailed plans to safeguard the health of patrons and employees. 

I am thrilled to see these theaters reopening and I hope that all of their efforts are successful.  But, as the operator of a an independent cinema, I want to remind readers that hundreds of small art house theaters throughout the nation have successfully reopened to the delight of avid movie goers, with stringent safety protocols, and a host of wonderful films several weeks ago.  

The Avon Theatre Film Center is a non-profit, community supported cinema housed in a beautiful, 1939 movie house in downtown Stamford.  We reopened our doors at the end of June, after a closure of more than three months, and have been operating Thursday through Sunday, in accordance with the guidelines established by the State of Connecticut and the Centers for Disease Control.  

The Avon’s capacity has been reduced well below 50% to ensure appropriate social distancing by cordoning off every other row and leaving several seats empty between groups of patrons. 

We have installed MERV 13 (HEPA) filters in our ventilation system and have adjusted air exchangers to increase the level of outside air circulating in the facility.  We have scheduled several hours between each screening to ensure that our staff has ample time to thoroughly clean the theaters, concessions, bathrooms, etc. throughout the day. 

We will not admit anyone without a mask (we do have extras for sale) and we are currently checking the temperature of each patron with an infrared thermometer – asking those with a fever (which has not yet happened) to return when they are well.

We have not been crowded, but a steady stream of people who love the Avon’s unique mix of new independent, documentary, foreign language and classic films have taken the opportunity, in these very troubling times to enjoy the diversion and inspiration that comes from quality cinema.  When movie fans from throughout the Tri-State area are ready to come back to the theater, the Avon will welcome them with open arms – of course, appropriately distanced.

Stuart Adelberg
Executive Director
Avon Theatre Film Center