An update on the reopening of movie theaters

Tiara Starks, Entertainment Editor

California Gov. Gavin Newsom confirmed on Mar. 10 that movie theaters will reopen 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.”

Los Angeles County released its own operating guidelines for restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, outdoor live events and theme park reopenings as the county plans to move to the less-restrictive “red” tier of California’s reopening plan.

On the east coast, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced that movie theaters will be able to reopen as of Mar. 5 at 25% capacity with no more than 50 people per screen and guests must wear masks, social distance and agree to other protocols. Patrons are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test when purchasing a ticket.

This is the same protocol that is being used at large arenas like Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center that reopened in February.
According to an op-ed published in USA Today, New York resident, Patrick Ryan attended three movie showings in two days once it was announced that theaters were reopening. Ryan said that he was comfortable returning to in-person movie viewings; however, he noticed that some theaters were still a bit lax on protocol.

“Although no one at AMC came into my showing of ‘The Mauritanian,’” said Ryan, “to ensure everyone was seated safely apart, fortunately, my small audience of seven had enough common sense to sit in separate rows. There were also posted signs around the auditorium that if you feel uncomfortable with your reserved spot, you are ‘free to move to a socially distant seat after the feature presentation starts.’”

To help increase awareness of reopenings, movie theater companies such as Cinemark and AMC have created pages on their websites to give information as to what theaters will be reopening as well. The reopening of theaters comes at the same time that highly-anticipated films will begin to debut including but not limited to “Godzilla v. Kong” on Mar. 31, “The Unholy” on Apr. 2, and “Voyagers” on Apr. 9.