Movie theaters in both Sacramento and San Diego are closing again as both areas are being shifted back to California state's most restrictive "purple" tier -- meaning more restrictive public health measures -- due to a rise in cases of COVID-19. According to Variety, California's Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly announced 10 counties in the state required to move back into the more strictive tier while none were moved into a less restrictive one. The closures also extend to the indoor operations of restaurants, houses of worship, and other organizations and establishments and those impacted must cease or significantly reduce those operations by 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, November 14.
These closures are just the latest blow to movie theaters which have struggled greatly during the pandemic. Back in mid-March nearly all of the movie theaters in the United States closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and while some reopened in the late summer and early fall, they've done so at limited capacity, with strict safety protocols and, without much in the way of new films -- the last major blockbuster to hit theaters was Christopher Nolan's Tenet over Labor Day weekend. Since then, studios have delayed the release of most of their major, upcoming blockbusters.
In terms of the impact on theaters in California specifically, Los Angeles theaters have been closed since March, other than a few drive-in theaters, with Los Angeles County having never left the purple tier indicative of widespread infection.
The Sacramento and San Diego closures will remain for several weeks. According to California's system, counties must remain in each tier for at least three weeks before they can even be eligible to shift into a less-restrictive one -- and even then, can only do so if their COVID-19 numbers improve for at least two weeks.
Despite these new closures, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon in terms of COVID-19. Pfizer recently revealed that they've found success with a vaccine that Imax CEO Richard Gelfond says could be a "game-changer" for the movie theater industry.
"Pfizer said it is a game-changer in terms of public health issues. And I think the vaccine is a game-changer in terms of the movie industry. No one had a time frame before. The announcement puts bookends on in," Gelfond said.0comments
Are you surprised Sacramento and San Diego's indoor movie theaters must close again? Let us know in the comments.
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