By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– With San Bernardino County now firmly in the Red Tier, movie theaters across the region are now opening their doors again to welcome film lovers, date nights, and families looking to once again enjoy a night out at a movie theater.
Auditoriums are limited to 25% capacity or 100 attendees, but that is still enough to make movie fans excited for the experience that comes with a larger-than-life screen, a darkened auditorium, surround sound, and of course, the smell (and taste) of buttered popcorn.
And with the Oscar nominees announced earlier this week, it gives people a chance to see films on the big screen such as “Nomadland,” “Minari,” “Promising Young Woman,” and “Judas and the Black Messiah,” to name four of the eight films up for a Best Picture Oscar.
One question is whether movie fans themselves will feel comfortable enough to venture into local theaters now that they’ve re-opened. Fortunately, many theater chains have gone to great lengths to ensure their venues are safe.
“The safety and comfort of our guests remains our highest priority and we take this responsibility very seriously,” said Amy Leach, a spokesperson for Harkins Theatres which has locations in both Chino Hills and Redlands. “We have many protocols in place to ensure everyone can enjoy their movies in a safe environment.”
Among the actions that Harkins and other theater chains are taking include:
- Enhanced cleaning/disinfecting in all common areas such as auditoriums, restrooms, condiment stands, etc.
- Frequent handwashing by employees.
- Employee fever checks and symptom screenings.
- Requiring face coverings for all guests and employees.
“Although movie theaters involve people getting together indoors, the behavior of movie goers is generally fairly benign,” said the County’s Director of Public Health Corwin Porter. “Viewers usually keep their masks on throughout the film, they largely remain quiet during the show, and they typically all face the same direction.”
For many people, going back to the movies will be a sign of normalcy not seen in a year. “With continued safety precautions and the growing number of people getting vaccinated, we can all be excited about the direction we’re headed,” said County Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman.
“Theater owners and operators are being responsible and taking care to keep their facilities clean and healthy,” Hagman said. “But it’s also important for patrons to do their part. People should continue to wear their masks, keep their distance from the other patrons, and wash their hands thoroughly. Everyone needs to do their part.”