L.A. Movie Theaters To Open At 25% Capacity Next Week


On Thursday, health authorities in Los Angeles announced that movie theaters will be allowed to reopen next week between Monday and Wednesday at 25% capacity, after almost a year of shutdown and nearly no business for many cinemas in the area.

Many theaters reportedly won’t be able to start business back up immediately due to the lack of time to prepare, with some major chains saying they won’t be able to welcome guests until Friday, March 19. The delay is due to the venues’ need to bring back staff and also put into place new cautionary and cleaning guidelines. There also remains the concern that theaters will struggle to be profitable with such stringent guidelines and reduced numbers of guests. However, many businesses are glad to open at all after the financial toll of the past year on the film industry.Los Angeles county was awaiting the distribution of two million vaccine doses that were scheduled to go out to underserved populations. Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday that the state would reach that marker on Friday, opening the way for counties to declare themselves a “red tier” status if the rate of infection is less than 10 new cases a day per 100,000 people.

The county rules allow for theaters to open with reserved seating and guests distanced at least six feet away from other groups.

Variety reports that due to the “red tier” status, L.A. county is also permitting other services to continue under guidelines, such as restaurants allowing indoor seating to operate at 25% capacity. Museums, aquariums, and zoos will also be allowed to operate at 25% capacity. Gyms, yoga studios, dance studios, and fitness centers can open at 10% capacity as long as people wear masks while indoors.In late February, The Daily Wire reported that New York City had announced that movie theaters could reopen if they followed guidelines, causing AMC stock to increase rapidly.

The Daily Wire reported:

Stocks for movie theaters saw a surge this week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) said that certain chains in New York City can reopen if they follow Covid-19 safety restrictions.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter on Monday, movie theaters in New York City will be permitted to open on March 5. The city is the United States’ second-largest moviegoing market behind Los Angeles and is reportedly an essential part to studios recuperating from the financial hit of the pandemic.

Cuomo announced the decision during a press event on Monday after reportedly receiving criticism for not allowing movie theaters to reopen while bars and gyms were given the green light as pandemic numbers started to go down. 

Many hope that the L.A. decision will enable major studios to release major films that they have been holding off on in the hopes of getting more audience members in seats.

California joins a number of states that have already opened movie theaters up to certain capacity limitations. As of March 10, all 50 states are allowing cinemas to operate indoors with certain guidelines in place. The only state that remains 10-19% capacity allowance is Pennsylvania, and Maine provides for opening with social distancing. The restrictions in Texas are fully lifted.

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