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2 Austin-area dine-in movie theaters prepare for post-lockdown premieres

2 Austin dine-in movie theaters prepare for post-lockdown premieres

Following a pandemic-imposed hiatus, two dine-in movie theaters in the Austin area are reopening — with one of them coming back under new ownership.

The IPIC Theater at the Domain is set to reopen June 11, while the former Sky Cinemas just outside Dripping Springs is returning July 1 as an EVO Cinemas location. Both theaters have been closed since the pandemic lockdown took effect in March.

In a May 26 release, Boca Raton, Florida-based IPIC Theaters LLC says it has established new health and safety measures for its locations. The company’s “priority has been to develop a way to offer our unique cinematic and dining experience where our guests can entrust that we have done everything possible to ensure their wellness,” CEO Paul Safran says.

Some of the new health and safety standards are:

  • Moviegoers, employees, and vendors must pass through thermal readers to get their temperatures checked.
  • Employees have temporarily stopped handing out blankets and pillows to customers.
  • Employees are required to wear masks and gloves.
  • Moviegoers are encouraged to wear masks in common areas.
  • To ensure theaters are cleaned properly, locations are open for business Thursday through Sunday but closed the remaining days. 

Meanwhile, Austin-based EVO Entertainment Group LLC is gearing up for the July 1 debut of its new location just east of Dripping Springs. EVO has taken over the former Sky Cinemas space at Belterra Village, which permanently closed May 18. Sky Cinemas had been temporarily closed since March 18.

“With our business closed due to COVID and no revenue coming in, we were unable to pay our rent,” Sky Cinemas said in its closure announcement. “We attempted to reach an arrangement with our landlord that would allow us to stay, but we failed to do so, and our lease was terminated.”

In a June 5 release, EVO says it’s investing more than $1 million to upgrade the property, including the addition of push-button dining service, expansion of the kitchen, and addition of cocktail and beer service.

EVO also operates theaters in Kyle, San Marcos, Fredericksburg, New Braunfels, and Schertz. For now, only the Kyle and Schertz locations have reopened for in-theater movies and dining. At those two theaters, EVO has rolled out various health and safety protocols.