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California Proposes Guidelines for Theater Reopenings at 25 Percent Capacity

California's proposed guidelines would require movie theater attendees to wear masks while entering or exiting the venue.

Posters for upcoming movies are displayed in an empty corridor at the currently closed AMC Burbank Town Center 8 movie theaters complex, in Burbank, CalifFilm Theatrical Window Cracks, Burbank, United States - 29 Apr 2020

Posters for upcoming movies are displayed in an empty corridor at the currently closed AMC Burbank

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

California’s movie theaters could begin reopening on June 12, with certain limitations, as the state begins to ease its social distancing guidelines.

The state’s Department of Public Health has proposed a string of new stipulations, which include rulings for movie theaters looking to reopen. Those rules — which would limit theater capacities to 25 percent, or a maximum of 100 attendees — would require theater attendees to wear face coverings when entering and exiting theaters and while purchasing food or drinks at concession stands. The guidelines recommend that attendees should wear face masks at all times when not eating, drinking, or wherever physical distancing cannot be maintained.

California’s proposed “family entertainment centers” coronavirus guidelines can be read in full here. California governor Gavin Newsom has yet to weigh in on proposed guidelines, which were issued Monday.

The guidelines also state that movie theaters should reconfigure, close, or otherwise remove seats from use to ensure that there is at least six feet of physical distance between seated attendees. Members of the same households could be seated together under the guidelines but must maintain at least six feet of distance from other households. Movie theaters would also be expected to dedicate staff to help people maintain social distancing, such as ushering customers to their seats and dismissing them in an orderly fashion after a film ends.

Disposable or washable seat covers are also being considered under the plan, though the state’s guidelines suggest that such seat coverings would be optional. Movie theater’s public drinking fountains would be required to be turned off under the guidelines.

The coronavirus has upended many aspects of the economy, and theater chains have been hit especially hard. IndieWire recently reported that AMC Theatres, the world’s largest theater chain, has told regulators it could be at risk of going out of business due to the pandemic.

The densely-populated California has struggled to contain the spread of the virus. The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that there have been 133,558 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, 2,628 of which were reported on Monday. There have been 4,654 coronavirus-related deaths in the state, according to the publication.

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