With One of the most hardest places hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City, has announced a plan to reopen their theaters in a 25% limited capacity. According to an article by Variety, the plan will go into effect on March 5th. While this is indeed good news for the movie industry, in terms of something going in the right direction for a return for normalcy, it is still far from what is needed for smaller theaters looking to reopen.
Right here on the Central Coast, theaters remain closed and shut. Some Regal theaters are present along the Central Coast, but AMC, the nation's largest theater chain, is not. This leaves all other theaters in the area left to the small and independent business owners, who do not have the financial stability of the large chains. Some theaters have been trying to find creative solutions, such as Park Cinema Theaters in Paso Robles. Even the Parks Plaza Theatre, a site for many Central Coast Film Society events and only theater in the entire Santa Ynez Valley, has quietly put a "For Sale" sign out on the curb in front of the words "We Will Be Back" in their marquee.
Another theater has garnished the support of local elected leaders in Atascadero. Reports show support for the Galaxy Theater's came as the property owner announced they may have to put the property in foreclosure. “Over the past year, too many local businesses have been forced to permanently shut their doors — resulting in unprecedented job loss on the Central Coast,” Said state Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham. “With new programs available to small businesses, I join my colleagues by imploring the bank to halt foreclosures and give businesses who have been able to survive this long a chance at a California small business grant.”
However, with New York City looking at reopening, even in a very limited capacity, all eyes now are focused on the Los Angeles theaters to see if they reopen. Odds are theaters will begin gaining momentum to reopen when that happens with the proper Cinema Safe protocols. Regal has a video featuring Dr. David F. Goldsmith who speaks to how theaters will reopen safely. Most, if not all theaters, will be following the same protocols when reopening finally does happen.