Merced County Times Newspaper
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Merced Theatre will come back to life, just hold on a bit more

Tom Frazier
Tom Frazier

We are in the GREEN tier!

That means we can toss the masks, go buy gas for less than $2 per gallon and head for Fresno for a flight to London! … Not.


Unfortunately, Merced is one of eight (of 58) counties stuck in the purple tier that indicates widespread outbreak. But things are slowly progressing. Last week, our positivity test rate was at 5 percent, right on the border of purple and red. Other metrics are also looking a bit better. If we can maintain all the metrics for three weeks, we will indeed move into the red tier and more businesses can start their re-opening process.

Kids, students, parents … please keep Spring Break sensible and follow the now-common “W” rules: wash your hands, wear your masks, watch your distance.

It would be a shame to come this close only to fall off the wagon.

Businesses are all working to “self-certify,” one of the steps in the process, but even that is a bit confusing.

Let’s talk about the Merced Theatre. Is it a movie theatre? Or an Entertainment venue? Or both, depending on what’s showing. Or, since the concession stand serves alcohol, does it need to follow bar rules? If seating is at 25 percent with social distancing at 6 feet, how does a ticketing system release the seats? Does if ask someone who is buying four seats if they all live in the same household? If the rows are only 4 feet apart, does the theatre have to skip two rows between assignments? Do all patrons have to wear masks? If attendance is restricted to 25 percent, will there be enough ticket sales to justify paying for live acts?

Too many decisions.

Believe it or not, with the extensive solar panels, apartment rentals, and reduced staff, the theatre is (barely) holding its own even though it has been closed for months. Yes, they are watching the numbers and making plans. Some predict we are only weeks away from being able to commit to start some activity. If you’d like to stay informed, visit the theatre’s website www:// Signup for email notifications or visit any of the social media pages *Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.) The first thing that may happen is a “soft” re-open for movies along with a “live-streamed” film festival (the Violette film festival, a local treat.) Movies? You tell them what you want (using social media or email). Family Classics? Kid’s matinees? Anyone up for the Godfather series? Butch Cassidy? How about Monte Python? James Bond? Indiana Jones? Make your suggestions, you may just get your wish.

For live shows, the Theatre may have one “on the books.” I’m not going to tell you a date because I don’t want to jinx the possibility. But if you like comedy, watch for Yakov Smirnoff”s “Make America Laugh Again.”

In the Fall plan to attend “Tacos and Tequila” a fundraiser that has been a popular yearly event. Finally, plan to help the Theatre by purchasing some really neat note cards depicting the building in its early days and another highlighting the lights under the marquee.

See you at the movies.

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