Wyoming-owned theater chain goes dark as coronavirus spreads - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Wyoming-owned theater chain goes dark as coronavirus spreads

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. – Wyoming’s Casper-based Movie Palaces, Inc., announced it was temporarily closing all of its theaters today.

The announcement was made on social media and their website, and all purchase times and options were removed from their website by Tuesday morning. A manager at Movie Palaces declined to comment when contacted by Oil City News.

“This is an unprecedented time for all of us,” the statement read.

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“As many of you know, our theatres have long been open every day of the year. We look forward to opening our doors and lighting up our screens for you again very soon, and will provide updates here on WyoMovies.com and on our Facebook pages.”

Movie Palaces, Inc., which goes by the name Wyomovies, operates more than 60 screens in Casper, Cheyenne, Laramie, Green River and Rock Springs.

Earlier this week the theater chain initiated a social distancing policy and reduced hours as the pandemic spread, but recent government recommendations for crowds of 10 or fewer people made operating a theater virtually impossible.

The industry that relies on crowds is among the hardest hit by the coronavirus COVED-19 pandemic.

According to the Associated Press, Hollywood box office receipts over last weekend were the lowest since after 9/11.

The AP says AMC, the largest chain in the country, will close all of its theaters for at least 13 weeks. Regal, the second largest, will also close their screens.

Popular Austin-based independent chain Alamo Drafthouse, which has three theaters in the Denver area, announced their closure on Facebook yesterday with the somber message, “Guests, colleagues, and friends… thank you, and good luck. We’ll see you soon.”

On their website, Alamo said, “When we re-open after this unprecedented and indefinite hiatus, it will be in a dramatically altered world, and in an industry that’s been shaken to its core.”

Yesterday Universal Pictures made the unprecedented announcement that some of their newest releases, including “Invisible Man,” “The Hunt,” “Emma” would be put up for rental this week, and the latest “Trolls” movie would go straight to streaming and skip the theatrical release.


The concern around coronavirus and COVID-19 are an ever evolving issue.

For more information please visit the Centers for Disease Control website and The Wyoming Department of Health website. At this time, the WDH is recommending Wyoming residents:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.


The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:


What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.

If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.

Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.

For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: covid@cnchd.org


  • Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.