By MEGAN HUSSEY
What would the summertime be without the moviegoing experience? The larger than life screens, the glamorous movie stars sweeping their way through dynamic adventures, and--of course--the candy and popcorn! Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is moving into the second phase of his plan to revive the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing movie theaters to partially reopen through most of the state. Thus the summer movie season can commence in Hernando County--with safety restrictions in place.
Touchstar Spring Hill 8, 2955 Commercial Way, will reopen to the public Friday, June 12; showing a full slate of summery new releases that include Jumanji: The Next Level, Sonic The Hedgehog, The Invisible Man, and Trolls World Tour.
"People are excited and happy," said Domenick Rado, manager of Touchstar Spring Hill 8. "It's something to do."
The theatre will reopen in accordance with stringent safety measures, according to Rado.
"We've done renovations," he said, "And are taking precautions."
These precautions include full cleaning and sanitization procedures, a 50 percent capacity in the theatre and lobby, social distancing in lines, plexiglass counters, masked employees, and a separation of seated groups in the cinema. Patrons' temperatures will be taken at the door (with anyone having a temperature over 100 being denied admittance), and also may wear masks if they choose.
"We're coming back," said Rado. "The safe way."
For more information and for showtimes at Touchstar Spring Hill 8, call (352) 666-6656, or visit https://www.touchstarcinemas.com/location/1085/Spring-Hill-8 or https://www.facebook.com/SpringHill8/.
GTC Beacon: Brooksville, 12961 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville, remains closed for the time being.
"At this time, we are looking at late June to early July to be the safest time for us to fully reopen," said GTC Movies representative Charity Malcom.
For those who prefer viewing movies at home, the Hernando County Library System offers a whole host of films that can be reserved free of charge with the use of one's library card.
"Of course, we do have a great DVD collection in person and on our virtual catalog, located on our website or at https://catalog.hcpl.bywatersolutions.com/," said Angela Gazabon-Serje, Community Engagement Specialist at Hernando County Public Library System. "Our collection includes national and foreign films within an array of genres."
And the library system recently launched Hoopla, a virtual library media streaming platform for audio books, comics, e-books, movies, music, and TV.
"Hoopla allows library patrons to download or stream media content. Up to 5 items can be borrowed per month with each library card through the Hoopla app," said Angela Gazabon-Serje, Community Engagement Specialist, Hernando County Public Library System.
"Hoopla can be used virtually from most electronic devices. You may have an iPad, an android phone, a kindle or Roku TV. Hoopla works with all of those!"
The library system's access to Hoopla is funded under the provisions of the State Aid to Libraries Grant program, administered by the Florida Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.
For more about Hoopla, visit https://www.hoopladigital.com/. To review the library's extensive catalogue of movies, books and more, visit https://hernandocountylibrary.us/.
Those who prefer to enjoy their movies in their cars and under the stars, and who don't mind a quick drive out of town, may wish to attend the Joy Lan Drive-In, 16414 US 301, Dade City. The theatre currently is screening a schedule of summertime classics, including Footloose, Grease, Goonies, and--coming up this weekend--Beetlejuice and Space Jam. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/joylandadecity.
Whether in a theatre, under the stars, or in the comfort of one's own home, the summer movie season is a time of celebration--at a time when we need it the most. And many potential patrons are more than ready to issue the resounding cry of "Lights! Camera! Action!"