Los Angeles theaters will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity next week, according to the LA Department of Public Health (via Variety). The restrictions are almost lifted exactly one year later they were put in place because Los Angeles County believes it will reach the number of vaccinations California needs to move to the next phase of reopening. The opening of the film capital is a few weeks after the opening of the theater, which means that two of the biggest film markets will reopen their projector.
As Variety remarks, this does not mean that the theaters will be able to open as soon as the ban is lifted – they have been closed for so long that they have to re-appoint and train staff, which can take a week or two. . The theaters will also have to ensure that they can meet the safety and cleaning requirements of California, and that they have to set up a reservation system if they do not already have one. before. Participants must also wear masks, and groups must be at least six feet apart.
Theaters will also have to figure out which films they need to show (a somewhat important part of the film experience), as most major versions have been pushed back to the second half of the year.
The future was bleak for movie theaters in October, with many theater chains closing all their establishments in the US and the UK, some permanently. The picture has since become clearer with the arrival of the vaccines, and AMC said yesterday it believes it will be able to withstand the storm until most Americans can see movies again. Whether the public will rush back to cinemas again remains to be seen, as some of the year’s most anticipated films are released side by side.