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Kimball's Peak Three Theater has a unique way of trying to stay afloat while being shut down. They used their marquis to ask people to buy gift cards to be used when they are open again. Thursday, March 19, 2020. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

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Among the guidelines President Donald Trump laid out Thursday for reopening the country as it battles the coronavirus pandemic was allowing movie theaters to reopen as soon as May 1.

While Gov. Jared Polis has the final say — Trump told the nation's governors to “call your own shots” — one local movie theater owner doesn’t envision opening his doors anytime soon.

“It’s hard for me because my customers are older,” said Kimball Bayes, owner of Kimball’s Peak Three Theater on Pikes Peak Avenue in downtown Colorado Springs. “Even if we were allowed to reopen, I’m not sure we’d have lines at the door. I still think people are going to be frightened by this.”

Bayles says he’d open his independent theater “if it was safe to do so.”

“We’re all jumping at the gun to open,” he said. “I don’t want people to come and then find out that maybe we have to go through this again." 

And next month is earlier than Bayles has expected.

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"From what we hear from the industry, they’re talking about July," he said. "As I’m thinking about it, I can’t imagine any earlier." 

On Thursday, Trump said large venues such as movie theaters would be allowed to operate with strict social distancing rules. Bayles is up for that, but says “it would certainly be a challenge.”

“I’m willing to follow any reasonable guidelines,” he said. “It would hurt us for sure. The movie experience is a bunch of people in the lobby talking and enjoying each other. When the movie’s over, people want to linger and talk.”

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