The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, revealed that it will be months before movie theaters reopen within the state due to the coronavirus outbreak. Movie theaters were one of the first facilities to be closed as the coronavirus outbreak spread to the US along with sports arenas, bars, and concert venues. On March 15th, the mayor of Los Angeles mandated movie theaters be fully shut down, and the rest of the state followed suit pretty soon after. California is currently one of the top 5 states with the most cases of coronavirus.
While California has had a relatively strict and efficient “stay at home” order, many other states are beginning to loosen up on restrictions. Georgia’s movie theaters reponed Monday, April 27th. Georgia is also pushing ahead with opening gyms, tattoo parlors, hair and nail salons, and massage therapists with some restrictions. Other states like Texas plan on reopening movie theaters this weekend. However, many movie theaters will still remain closed on a national level.
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According to Variety, this has not at all swayed Newsom to ease up California’s stay at home restrictions. Newsom announced the state will adhere to a 4-stage plan in order to reopen the economy. Reopening movie theaters is a part of “Stage 3” of the plan. Newsom revealed that “Stage 3” is a long way in the future. Californians can expect to enter “Stage in 3” in not weeks but months from now. The third stage also includes the reopening of hair salons, nail salons, gyms, and churches with restrictions. Sporting events will also be held without spectators.
California is currently in “Stage 1” of the plan in which all nonessential businesses are closed and nonessential workers are required to stay at home and social distance outside of their homes. “Stage 2” of the plan will involve reopening public facilities in addition to retail stores, offices, and manufacturing locations with social distancing guidelines. Newsom revealed the state is just weeks away from entering the 2nd stage. Eventually the goal is to enter “Stage 4” during which the “stay at home” restriction is lifted and people can attend concerts, conventions, and sporting events with crowds. Newsom revealed that in order to enter “Stage 4,” there must be a vaccine for COVID-19 or a population-level immunity at the very least.
California is ultimately making the right choice by prioritizing the health of its citizens with this new 4-stage strategy. While returning to normalcy is much-anticipated and would be ideal in a perfect world, it is important that states wait until it is safe to do so. Hastily reopening facilities without social distancing can lead to avoidable deaths and illness at a rate the healthcare industry wouldn’t be able to handle. Patience will save lives and pay off in the long run. The timing of when movie theaters reopen will play a key role in whether the illness subsides or even if there is a second wave of the disease. Until then, Californians will have to rely on Netflix, Disney+, and the quickly increasing amount of other streaming services.
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