Los Angeles Officials Confirm Movie Theaters Can Reopen On Monday As California Meets Covid Requirement

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Tom Tapp
·4 min read
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Los Angeles County officially will move into the state’s less-restrictive “Red” tier Monday, with the state achieving a milestone of 2 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in hard-hit communities and triggering an easing of requirements for counties to advance in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s economic-reopening blueprint.

L.A. County officials said the move out of the Purple tier and into Red will be effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday, meaning indoor dining can return and movie theaters and indoor fitness centers can reopen, all at limited capacity.

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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday that the news announced by Newsom a day earlier that movie theaters can open indoors at 25% capacity “with reserved seating only where each group is seated with at least 6 feet of distance in all directions between any other groups.” But Public Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer was unsure whether the vaccination milestone would be achieved on Friday or over the weekend. Today’s announcement settles that question. L.A. officials have now confirmed that, after 48 hours to prepare, the county will enter the Red tier on Monday.

Ferrer said on Wednesday that the county planned to release its own operating guidelines for restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, outdoor live events and theme park reopenings as the county anticipated moving into the less-restrictive Red tier of California’s reopening blueprint. It did so on Thursday.

Disneyland Will Likely Reopen With 66% Greater Capacity Than Expected

While Governor Gavin Newsom announced the loosening of state restrictions earlier Wednesday, local health officials have the authority to be more restrictive than the state if they so choose. L.A. health officials have exercised that option in the past.

The state restrictions read as follows: “Capacity must be limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is less.” Thus, not only is the new L.A. county health order in effect, theaters will also be bound by the limit of 100 people mentioned in the state order.

The L.A. County press release confirming the local guidelines on Thursday made no mention of the “100 people” caveat in the state order, but county officials cannot be more lenient than the state, so both limitations should apply in L.A.

According to Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro, AMC plans to open its L.A. theaters one week from tomorrow. As of Thursday, TCL — which has the Chinese 6 and the Imax Chinese Theatre — still was debating whether to reopen next weekend. Cinemark has said it looks forward to reopening in the region and would share “a reopening update once government restrictions are announced.” Obviously, that has now happened.

Holdouts include Regal, Arclight, Laemmle and Cinepolis. Each of those chains expects to reopen at a later date. For specifics, click over to Anthony’s story.

Here is the entire list of Red tier reopening guidelines issued by L.A. County officials on Thursday:

Museum, Zoos and Aquariums can open indoors at 25% capacity.

Gyms, Fitness Centers, Yoga and Dance Studios can open indoors at 10% capacity with masking requirement for all indoor activities.

Movie Theatres can open indoors at 25% capacity with reserved seating only, where each group is seated with at least 6 feet of distance in all directions between any other groups.

Retail and Personal Care Services can increase capacity to 50% with masking required at all times and for all services.

Restaurants can open indoors at 25% max capacity under the following conditions: 8 feet distancing between tables; one household per table with a limit of 6 people; the HVAC system is in good working order and has been evaluated, and to the maximum extent, possible ventilation has been increased. Public Health strongly recommends that all restaurant employees interacting with customers indoors are provided with additional masking protection (above the currently required face shield over face masks); this can be fit tested N95 masks, KN95 masks, or double masks and a face shield. In addition, Public Health strongly recommends that all employees working indoors are informed about and offered opportunities to be vaccinated. Outdoor dining can accommodate up to six people per table from 3 different households.

Indoor Shopping Malls can increase capacity to 50% with common areas remaining closed; food courts can open at 25% capacity adhering to the restaurant guidance for indoor dining.

Institutes of Higher Education can reopen all permitted activities with required safety modifications, except for residential housing, which remains under current restrictions for the Spring semester. Schools are permitted to reopen for in-person instruction for students in grades 7-12 adhering to all state and county directives.

Private gatherings can occur indoors with up to 3 separate households, with masking and distancing required at all times. People who are fully vaccinated can gather in small numbers indoors with other people who are fully vaccinated without required masking and distancing.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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