Circle Cinema

Circle Cinema manager Greg Younger demonstrates new rules for moviegoers ahead of its June 26 reopening. On Tuesday, the theater closed again due to increasing numbers of new cases of COVID-19. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World

Less than two weeks after reopening, Circle Cinema is closing its movie theater again.

The reason is due to rising numbers of new infections of COVID-19 in the state of Oklahoma and in Tulsa County, with both reporting record highs Tuesday, according to state health officials.

Tuesday was the theater’s final day until it reopens again.

“Despite an increase in our safety measures that went above and beyond health department guidelines, we cannot in good conscience remain open in a time of increased risk,” said Chuck Foxen, Circle’s film programmer.

“It looks like we will be closing until at least Aug. 7, with continued reevaluation through monitoring case numbers and community health factors.”

The art-house theater, which opened in 1928, closed in March for three months due to the pandemic before reopening to the nonprofit’s membership June 26 and to the public just last Friday, July 3.

It did so after implementing new health-and-safety measures to make guests feel comfortable enough to come back to the movies.

These included new Plexiglas shields, a touchless payment system, socially distanced seating and delays between showtimes for deeper cleaning of auditoriums.

But as numbers of new cases have continued to shoot up, the Circle closed Tuesday out of a concern for its guests, who are a more mature clientele than other theaters, and for its staff.

“The new procedures seemed to be working well, but (the increased cases) were just hitting a little too close to home for all of us,” Foxen said.

“We truly appreciate the continued support Tulsa has shown since our initial closure in March. We will resume offering watch-at-home programming through virtual screening rentals and free digital content.”

Information on programming and answers to questions can be found at the theater’s website, circlecinema.org, and free offerings can already be found on the theater’s YouTube channel.


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Michael Smith

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michael.smith@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @michaelsmithTW