Regal

A Lanesborough resident has proposed transforming the shuttered Berkshire Mall into a mixed-use village featuring apartments, condominiums, entertainment and other amenities.

Regal Cinemas temporarily is closing all its theaters in the country, including the one at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, starting Thursday.

The second-largest movie theater chain in the U.S. said Monday that the decision was made in response to challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. A company spokesperson did not return an email message from The Eagle seeking comment Monday on when the mall’s cinema complex will close or how many employees will be affected.

“This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the U.S. — from putting in place robust health and safety measures at our theatres to joining our industry in making a collective commitment to the CinemaSafe protocols to reaching out to state and local officials to educate them on these initiatives,” Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, said in a news release. Cineworld is the parent company of Regal.

“We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was.”

The decision will affect more than 40,000 employees nationwide.

The temporary closure of the cinema at the Berkshire Mall leaves the county with just one theater that remains open, the North Adams Movieplex 8, which is independently owned.

The multiplex had reopened Aug. 27. No one answered the phone at the multiplex Monday afternoon, but movie times were listed on the cinema complex’s website.

On Monday, the Baker-Polito administration officially allowed state movie theaters to expand their seating capacity from 25 patrons to 50 percent of their total capacity, or up to 250 patrons.

But, the owners of the county’s three other movie theater complexes — Phoenix Theatres’ Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield, Images Cinema in Williamstown and the Triplex in Great Barrington — said they all planned to stay shut for now.

The Beacon’s owner, Corey Jacobson, said the Michigan-based Phoenix is planning to open its three theaters in the Detroit metro area on Friday, and will monitor that situation before deciding how to proceed with the Beacon.

“Once we get that established and running, we’ll make some decision on what to do in Pittsfield,” Jacobson said. “Basically, you get one big bite at the apple. You want to make sure that you can open and be successful. We don’t want to reopen and then close again, either.”

Doug Jones, executive director of Images Cinema, said the state’s new indoor seating guidelines will benefit multiscreen cinema complexes more than Images, which has only one screen and 160 seats.

“It’s a good sign overall, but it is more geared toward the large theaters,” Jones said. “When you get to an auditorium the size of Images, the standards of social distancing are still in place. ... It’s great for theaters that have 300 or 400 seats in their auditorium.”

At the Triplex, owner Richard Stanley said the major studios’ decision to delay movie releases was still a factor in his keeping the three-screen complex closed.

“I don’t see us opening this year unless something happens around Thanksgiving or Christmas,” he said, referring to the release of new films.

It remains unclear how long the closure of Regal Cinemas will last.

“Regal will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen,” Greidinger said.

Eagle staff writer Tony Dobrowolski contributed to this report.