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Theater returns after six months

Theater owner Jim Sheehan stands behind the concession counter at the Ironwood Cinema Theaters in Minden on Monday.
Kurt Hildebrand

On Monday the staff of Ironwood Cinemas 8 was waiting for the delivery of the first movies they’ve had in nearly six months.

Closed on March 17 along with every other movie house, casino and bar in Nevada, the Minden theater is reopening today.

“It has been a five and a half lonely months,” owner Jim Sheehan said. “The theater is clean and we’ve taken plenty of precautions, including gloves, masks and everything else. With a little social distancing we’ll be ready to go.”

The theater celebrated its 22nd anniversary in Minden last month.

When it first opened as the Ironwood Stadium Cinema 8 on July 10, 1998, it was front-page news.

Sheehan and his partners rescued the theater from bankruptcy in 2012 and it was chugging along until the closure with “Parasite” and “The Invisible Man” the last movies on the marquee.

“We hope the folks in Douglas are ready to go to the movies and forget about all the other things happening for a while,” Sheehan said.

He said the movie staff has been working to clean the screens and shampoo the carpets and seats.

The theater has also applied for a beer and wine license, which required that they change out the smoke alarms.

“The theater is in good shape,” he said. “With no money coming in we had to be careful of what we could do.”

Sheehan said that the theater will open for sneak previews 6 p.m. Thursday and then will open at its usual 12:15 p.m. time on Friday.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the theater will only be selling tickets for half of the 110 seats per theater.

“We’ll sell 45-50 tickets for each performance with two theaters for each movie,” he said. “That way if people have a mask on and are each in their own little group, that should work out well.”

The movies are being scheduled so that customers will be able to hit the concession stands without crowding.

Sheehan is looking forward to getting the cinema back in operation.

“I’m tired of walking my dog and paying the bills with no money coming in,” he said.

Though he understands that it’s the movies that will bring people in the door.

“It all depends on the movies we have,” he said. “If we have something that strikes people’s fancy then they’ll come out.”