Photo by Brooklyn Carrillo
Look out kids, your local movie theaters are reopening. After being closed since March of 2020 movie theaters are reopening and ready for business.
Century 10 Downtown reopened on March 19, but they are not the only theater in the area to reopen. Regency Buenaventura 6 and Plaza Stadium Cinemas 14 have also reopened. Some theaters even offer private watch parties where you and your friends or family have the opportunity to book your own private screening and can pick any movie you want. At Century 10 up to twenty guests are allowed, and prices start at $99.
To book a private screening you need to go to your local theater’s “ticket page” and pick one of the showtimes for the Plaza Stadium. You can also go to cinemark.com/private-watch-party as well to book a private screening. It is also highly advised to buy tickets with a credit, debit, or gift card to reduce contact.
“It is recommended that seats be purchased online and reserved prior to arrival, but walk-ups are permitted if Covid guideline seats are available on the seating chart,” Joe Luis executive for Plaza Stadium said.
While there is a limited amount of movies that are being shown, theaters are reopening for normal viewing as well. Some theaters will be showing movies that came out a few months ago such as “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Tom and Jerry”, while others will be showing new releases such as “Mortal Kombat” or “Separation”. The best way to find out which movies are being shown is to go to the theater’s website or download a mobile app such as Fandango for easy access.
All auditoriums are at 50% capacity or less, if you go with your family you have to have two seats in-between your groups depending on how big your group is. If there is no one sitting directly in front or behind you, then you are allowed to switch to the empty seats that are separating your group but this only applies to same household groups. Since movie theaters are just starting to open up, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself with a room by yourself.
Auditoriums are also disinfected before each show with new electrostatic disinfectant sprayers. Extra time has been added between movies to make sure that the auditoriums are ready for the next set of viewers and is safe for them to be in. There will be “sanitizer and wipe stations throughout the theatre” according to the Plaza Stadium website, and customers are highly encouraged to use them.
At movie theaters such as the Plaza stadium, there will be blocked out restroom stalls and urinals to ensure there is appropriate physical distancing when the restrooms are used.
“Restroom occupancy is controlled by our movie show schedules,” Luis said.
Masks are required and must be worn at all times, this includes before, during, and after the movie. Your mask should cover your mouth and nose and “fit snugly” around your face and chin. Some theaters such as the Plaza Stadium might even sell masks but it’s best to bring one yourself in case the theater you go to does not.
But what’s a movie without a bucket of popcorn and your favorite drink? Luckily, viewers are allowed to remove their masks when they eat food or drink their beverage. While it can be difficult to remember to put your mask back on when you are watching a movie it is important that you do so to protect yourself and others.
“In California, counties may also set their own standards. We have our own industry standards,” Luis said.
Health protocols may vary depending on the theater you go to as well, so it is important that you check out your theaters website and read about any new protocols they may have. Employee’s will also have their temperatures read before starting their shifts, anyone who has a fever or symptoms is required to self-quarantine until they are symptom free for at least seventy-two hours. It is also highly encouraged that if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19 that you stay home.
“The health and safety of our guests is paramount to us,” Luis said, “We are happy to make these changes to ensure the safest, cleanest, and most comfortable environment for our patrons returning to movie theaters.”
Movie theaters are reopening and while they have changed and won’t be the same as last year they will continue to bring joy to each viewer even with masks on their faces. At the very least, no one will have to worry about those who tend to talk during the movie when our masks are on.