After months of watching movies at home or streaming on mobile devices, moviegoers can return to the cinema. Starting Friday, local theaters will open at reduced capacity with security practices in place.
Now that Kern County is in the red tier, theaters can reopen with a capacity limited to 25 percent or 100 people per auditorium, whichever is less.
Maya Cinemas, which reopens its Bakersfield and Delano locations on Friday, has already received good customer reviews for its theaters which have reopened in Las Vegas, Fresno and Pittsburg in the Bay Area.
Building on the plan that was in place this summer for the reopening, Maya will rely on her own team for disinfection, according to Doug Hawkins, vice president of food and beverage / purchasing.
“Dedicated Clean Team staff will clean and disinfect auditoriums between shows, bathrooms and all commonly touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected regularly,” he wrote in an email.
Contactless transactions are encouraged with tickets available through the Maya app and mayacinemas.com. Cash will still be accepted at the counter and at concessions, with team members changing gloves after each cash transaction.
Customers should also be prepared for some dealer changes, Hawkins said.
“There will be no self-service, all condiments will be available from dealership agents and drinks will be served by a member of staff. There will be no refills available at this time and prices for the concession have been adjusted for this. “
Those looking for Halloween movies can check out this weekend’s deals, which include “Hocus Pocus”, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “The Lost Boys”.
New big screen releases include “Tenet”, “The War with Grandpa” and “Love and Monsters”. For a full list, visit the Maya website.
The theater will also offer the rental of private rooms that can accommodate up to 20 people.
Studio Movie Grill Bakersfield will also be offering a private auditorium rental after it opens on Sunday.
Lynne McQuaker, the chain’s senior director of public relations and outreach, said renting was an “extremely popular” option in other places.
Before the theater reopens, it will host a Welcome Back Curbside Drive Thru event on Saturday. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (or while supplies last), guests can come to the theater to receive free popcorn for the whole family and four tickets valid for the reopening of the theater.
SMG will also open with many new releases including “Tenet” and “Unhinged” as well as the Netflix remake of the mystery classic “Rebecca”, starring Armie Hammer and Lily James. The channel’s full CinemaSafe schedule and practices are posted on studiomoviegrill.com.
Reading Cinemas Valley Plaza with IMAX will reopen on Friday with new films as well as titles such as “The Exorcist: Extended Director’s Cut” and the Disney animated film “Coco”. The complete schedule of the film as well as its security measures are posted on readingcinemasus.com/valleyplaza.
AMC’s Bakersfield 6 Theater, which also reopens on Friday, will feature programming from “Tenet,” “The War With Grandpa,” Liam Neeson’s action flick “Honest Thief” and Marvel thriller “The New Mutants”. Tickets and AMC Safety & Clean policies and procedures are posted on amctheatres.com/movie-theatres/bakersfield.
Edwards Bakersfield Stadium 14, part of the Regal chain owned by Cineworld, which closed its US and UK theaters earlier this month, remains closed.
Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.
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