California Movie Theaters Can Reopen This Week
Movie theaters around the country have been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. For dedicated cinephiles, that means it’s been three months since they got to enjoy their favorite pastime. Speaking personally, it has been ... very hard.
Now the real hard part begins: Reopening while the threat of coronavirus remains. Theaters in some parts of the country have already started welcoming back guests, but now, per The Hollywood Reporter, California — which is home to the film industry as well as the country’s “largest moviegoing market,” Los Angeles — can begin the process of reopening. The state’s theaters are permitted to reopen this Friday, June 12 with “strict social distancing measures in place for at least the first two weeks,” such as...
...theaters [must] limit capacity to 25 percent, or no more than 100 people per auditorium, whichever is less, sources say. If all goes well, this rule is expected to relax after about two weeks, giving exhibitors enough time to ramp up before Tenet arrives.
Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, scheduled for release on July 17, is the first major studio production on the upcoming release calendar, followed shortly after by Disney’s Mulan on July 24, and Wonder Woman 1984 on August 14.
California’s movie theater guidelines also instruct multiplexes to “implement a reservation system to limit the number of attendees entering the theater at a time whenever possible,” “reconfigure, close or otherwise remove seats from use to ensure physical distancing of at least six feet between attendees,” and that “face coverings should be worn by patrons when not eating or drinking. At minimum, face coverings should be worn when entering and exiting theaters, when obtaining refreshments at the concession stand, and whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.” It also recommends theaters prop open doors, turn off drinking fountains, and limit the number of people that use restrooms at the same time.
In other words, the theaters can reopen but they will look very different than they did three months ago. The next question is how many people will want to come back under these conditions. The movie theater is supposed to be an escape from reality. All these changes, while necessary, are like constant reminders of that reality. Or to put it another way: Are you really ready to risk your life to watch a Christopher Nolan movie?
Gallery — Why We Miss the Movie Theaters Right Now: