Los Angeles Times

How safe is it to go to indoor movie theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Remember what it was like going out to see a movie?

Even though movie theaters have implemented protocols to protect guests and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of the measures have been met with praise from experts, the exhibition industry remains in a state of crisis. Indoor theaters have been closed in Los Angeles County since mid-March, and Gov. Gavin Newsom pulled the "emergency brake" on the rest of the state last week, shutting down many indoor businesses in California, including most movie theaters. Even when these restrictions lift, the industry will be anxious to reopen safely.

And in many other states, the question remains: With the national totals surpassing 12 million infections, more than 255,000 Americans dead and daily numbers surging to record highs, just how risky is it to see a movie indoors?

The argument from the exhibition industry to keep theaters open relies on confidence in the COVID-19 protocols theaters are putting in place — including mask mandates, enhanced cleaning, automatic seating gaps between parties, limited auditorium capacity, staggered showtimes and other measures. They say no outbreaks

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