In an announcement today, California Gov. Gavin Newsom deemed movie theaters to be part of a stage 3 opening in the ultimate four-prong easing of COVID-19 at-home restrictions, meaning they’d be able to open “months, not weeks” in the future.
Movie theaters would be part of phase of higher risk workplaces which require a close proximity to other people, including hair salons, nail salons, gyms, sporting events with live audiences and in-person religious services like churches and weddings.
Movie theaters were allowed to reopen in Georgia on Monday and Texas is permitting cinemas to reopen on May 1, but the major chains are waiting until late June and July, particularly the latter month, when studios begin to book movies in theaters. All eyes and hopes are on July 17 when Warner Bros. plans to open Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and July 24 when Disney will debut Mulan.
Newsom also said schools could start as early as the end of July or beginning of August due to “learning losses.” Schools could reopen under staggered dates. They were part of Stage 2 considered to be lower risk workplaces, and included on a list that has childcare facilities, non-essential manufacturing (like furniture, toys), retail business with curbside pickup, and offices where working remotely isn’t possible.
The statewide “Stay at Home” order would be lifted in Stage 4, allowing for concerts, conventions and sporting events with crowds. This phase would require a vaccine or population-level immunity from COVID-19.
Said Newsom, “I want to caution everybody, if we pull back too quickly and we walk away from our incredible commitment to not only bend this curve but to stop the spread and suppress the spread of this virus, it could start a second wave that could be even more damaging than the first and undo all of the good work and progress that you’ve made…The virus has not gone away. It’s virulence is still as acute. Its ability to be transmitted still is dominant. We by no stretch are out of the woods.”
“The virus is as transmittable as it’s ever been…It is ubiquitous, it is invisible, and it remains deadly. Ask the 45 families who lost a loved one in the last 48 hours,” he said.
Despite the uber-warm spell SoCal has been having with temperatures in the 80s to low 90s over the last few days, Newsom reminded, “This virus doesn’t take the weekends off.’ This virus doesn’t go home because it’s a beautiful sunny day around our coasts.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.