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Movie Theaters in Los Angeles Could Reopen as Soon as Saturday, Gov. Newsom Says

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  • Los Angeles movie theaters could reopen as early as Saturday if enough vaccines are distributed in California.
  • In order to reopen, counties in California must have fewer than 10 new cases a day per 100,000 people and the state as a whole must distribute 2 million vaccine doses to underserved populations.
  • As of Wednesday, Los Angeles county had just 6.9 new cases per 100,000 residents and Newsom said California should hit the vaccine milestone on Friday.

If enough Californians get vaccinated, Los Angeles movie theaters could be in the clear to reopen at a limited capacity as early as Saturday, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

In order to reopen, counties in California must have fewer than 10 new cases a day per 100,000 people and the state as a whole must distribute 2 million vaccine doses to underserved populations.

As of Wednesday, Los Angeles County had just 6.9 new cases per 100,000 residents and Newsom said California should hit the vaccine milestone on Friday.

"Southern California, L.A., will be a big beneficiary of this new metric," Newsom said during a his daily press conference Wednesday.

However, given the quick turnaround it is unlikely that any theaters will be able to reopen this weekend. After all, cinemas need to rehire and retrain staff, which typically takes around a week.

Once the vaccine benchmark has been hit, county officials will sign off and movie theaters will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity, or 100 people, whichever is less.

The potential reopening of L.A., comes shortly after New York City venues were permitted to resume operation. Having these two cities back in operation is a big step toward the recovery of the theater business. California and New York together account for 21.5% of the total U.S. box office receipts each year, according to data from Comscore.

New York City makes up nearly 24% of all of New York state's total box office and Los Angeles accounts for around 30% of California's. These cities have above-average ticket prices and population density, as well as being hubs of the entertainment industry, making them vitally important to the industry's financial well-being.

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