Back to the movies: Local theaters to reopen in April

SIGNAL FILE PHOTO: Regal Valencia, located at Westfield Valencia Town Center. Tammy Murga/The Signal

Movie-crazed Santa Clarita residents can finally get ready to once again enjoy movies on the big screen amid the scent of buttered popcorn, as local theaters announce reopening plans.

Regal Cinemas is set to reopen theaters across the country next month, with the Regal Valencia, located in the Westfield Valencia Town Center, scheduled for an April 2 reopening. An opening date has not yet been set for the Regal in Canyon Country.

The newly constructed Laemmle Theatres 6 in Newhall is also in preparation for an April reopening, according to Greg Laemmle, president of the family-owned business.

Under current restrictions, theaters are expected to be able to reopen each screen to 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, with advanced reservations required to ensure pre-assigned, staggered seating.

Movie goers will be required to remain masked at all times, except while eating or drinking, which is only permitted in designated dining areas, or while seated in their reserved seats in the theater, at a 6-foot distance from those who are not members of their household, according to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health protocols.

The theaters’ reopening coincides with some big-ticket movie openings, including “Godzilla vs. Kong” on April 2, “Mortal Kombat” on April 16 and both “Cruella” and “A Quiet Place Part II” on May 28.

As more theaters reopen, other big-name titles, such as “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “No Time to Die,” the latest James Bond installment, which delayed 2020 or early 2021 openings reportedly could be announcing premiere dates in the coming weeks.

“L.A. County is moving in the right direction, and we just hope that people continue to do all the right things to keep things moving in that direction,” Laemmle said, referring to the county’s continued decline in COVID-19 figures.

Public Health officials announced Tuesday that the county may be eligible to move to the less restrictive, orange tier as soon as early April, a move that would allow reopening theaters to increase capacity to 50%.

Public Health officials also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Wednesday:

New COVID-19 cases reported in L.A. County in the past 24 hours: 666

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,215,736

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported: 92, including one person between the ages of 12-17 who had underlying health conditions.

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 22,960

Hospitalizations countywide: 719; 25% of whom are in the ICU.

Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of March 19: 8, with 1,176 discharged since the onset of the pandemic.

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 31, 21 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita.

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 26,990

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of March 23: 286

The numbers of SCV cases, including all area health care providers’ daily figures and those at Pitchess Detention Center, broken down into region, are as follows:

City of Santa Clarita: 19,804

Unincorporated – Acton: 460

Unincorporated – Agua Dulce: 266

Unincorporated – Bouquet Canyon: 47

Unincorporated – Canyon Country: 815

Unincorporated – Castaic: 3,665 (majority of Castaic cases come from Pitchess Detention Center, exact number unavailable)

Unincorporated – Lake Hughes: 41

Unincorporated – Newhall: 67

Unincorporated – Placerita Canyon: 1

Unincorporated – San Francisquito Canyon/Bouquet Canyon: 15

Unincorporated – Sand Canyon: 17

Unincorporated – Saugus: 132

Unincorporated – Saugus/Canyon Country: 39

Unincorporated – Stevenson Ranch: 1,109

Unincorporated – Val Verde: 327

Unincorporated – Valencia: 185

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