Movie theaters reopen in Albuquerque as pandemic restrictions ease

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the first time in over a year, people were allowed to watch a movie in a theater in Albuquerque.

"Even if there’s no good movies out or anything like that, I’m just here because of the experience,” said Nico Baca, a movie fan.

On Friday, Bernalillo County moved into Level Green under the state’s Red-to-Green reopening plan. However, Century Rio 24 waited until Saturday to reopen at 25 percent capacity.

"Some seats are far apart, but we got lucky. We all sat near close family,” said Vina Begay-Tsosie, a movie fan.

Begay-Tsosie said she and her family traveled from Shiprock to watch Mortal Kombat.

"And we wanted to come down and watch a movie because we sure missed popcorn and the drinks here,” she said.

"It’s rewarding to come to a theater like this again. It’s been awhile so I’m pretty sure all these people out here are going to enjoy the movies like we did,” said Duane Tsosie.

Century Rio 24 is taking extra steps to keep everyone safe by adding extra cleanings and wellness checks for their employees. Customers were also seen using their phones to check in.

"They make sure the seats next to you are claimed as well so there’s only room for so many people,” said Alexander Reidy, a movie fan.

"Yeah. I think it was safe. There was somebody at each theater, cleaning before and after. It wasn’t packed,” added Monica Reidy.

Theaters in green counties can operate at 25% capacity. In Level Turquoise, the highest level, capacity increases to 33%.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she plans to allow places to full reopen without any COVID restrictions once 60% of all New Mexicans are fully vaccinated.