Los Angeles Movie Theaters Could Reopen Next Week

California needs to improve vaccinations in lower-income communities before reopenings will be permitted

Los Angeles is now on the verge of reopening movie theaters and other businesses, but the county needs to improve vaccinations in poorer communities before cinemas can get the green light.

On Tuesday, new data on infection rates from the California Department of Public Health revealed that Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino Counties have suppressed the rate of COVID-19 infections to the levels needed to move them to the second level of the state’s four-tier reopening system. That second level would allow movie theaters to reopen with a 25% capacity limit as early as March 19.

But another part of the state’s reopening criteria is how well the state is vaccinating lower-income communities, most of which are predominantly populated by Black and Latino residents. California has set a goal of vaccinating 2 million people in those communities, after which it will relax reopening rules in a way that will allow many counties currently in the lowest reopening tier to move up to level 2. With its new plan of reserving 40% of delivered vaccines for those poorer communities, California expects to reach that 2 million goal sometime in the coming week.

Once it does, the nation’s top 3 moviegoing markets will have reopened as New York City and San Francisco reopened theaters this weekend with a 25% capacity limit. Distributors have long pointed to the reopening of those three cities as a crucial step to ending the delays on film releases, and already films like Sony’s “Peter Rabbit 2” and Universal’s “F9” have swapped spots on the May/June release calendar but have not left summer 2021 entirely, showing the increased confidence that major theatrical releases will soon resume.

More to come…

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