Movie theaters, bowling and mini golf: All the fun things allowed to reopen in CA (and what's still banned)

ByAlix Martichoux KGO logo
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Movie theaters reopening
Movie theaters are allowed to reopen in California starting Friday, June 12.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday night that a group of decidedly nonessential (but very fun!) businesses would be allowed to reopen in California starting Friday, June 12.

The sector is being called "family entertainment centers," but what exactly makes the cut can seem sort of random.

The businesses that can reopen starting Friday include movie theaters, bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades.

The businesses that cannot reopen include ice rinks, roller rinks, laser tag arenas, water parks and theme parks.

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The reason these entertainment options are being left off the list? It's because "guests are less able to maintain physical distancing of at least six feet," "a central part of the activity is circulating in the space," and they host a large number of guests from different households.

Here's where things get a little more complicated: If an amusement or theme park has a standalone bowling alley, miniature golf course, arcade or movie theater, it may open those operations with permission from the county. Other attractions like rides must not open.

The state guidelines get even more specific from there. Entertainment centers must "discontinue demonstrations, such as magic, live animal shows etc." unless physical distancing can be maintained.

Now, for the new rules. Movie theaters have to limit capacity to 25% or 100 people, whichever number is lower. They should use a reservation system to help limit the number of people on site at a time. Blocking off or rearranging seats can help with physical distancing and theaters should consider using disposable or washable seat covers.

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Things may also look different at the bowling alley. You'll probably check out a single ball when you arrive instead of getting to pick and choose from any size off the rack. All that equipment has to be disinfected between uses.

Ball pits, foam pits and indoor play structures all have to stay closed. Those were germ pools even before COVID-19.

Guests at any of these businesses should have their temperature taken upon arrival and wear a face covering when not eating or drinking.

"Even with adherence to physical distancing, convening in a setting bringing multiple different households to engage in the same activity carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations," the state warns in its guidelines.

And remember, just because these businesses are allowed to reopen in California, doesn't mean they'll reopen in your county. The Bay Area in particular has been taking it slower than the rest of the state.

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