Orange County movie theaters reopen, with COVID-19 limits

(E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

People are returning to movie theaters in Orange County this weekend, with Regal Cinemas re-opening its theaters at Irvine Spectrum on Saturday and AMC opening its larger locations across the county -- both with limited capacity to guard against further spread of the coronavirus.

Orange County was upgraded from the purple to the red tier in California's coronavirus monitoring system earlier this week. The move allowed for churches, theaters and other business to resume indoor operations, but with
strict limits on capacity and other health measures in place.

Theaters, restaurants and churches are restricted to 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. Museums, zoos and aquariums also may reopen
indoor activities at 25% capacity. Shopping centers may expand from 25%
capacity to half-capacity under the red tier, while gyms can reopen, but at 10%

RELATED: More Orange County businesses reopening with modifications after moving into 'red tier'

The theater chains are instituting other safety protocols as well.

Regal guests will be required to wear face masks at all times while in the auditoriums unless eating and drinking. Two empty seats will be maintained between groups, and the chain is "increasing our fresh air intake by 50%-100% above normal levels (which will help circulate more fresh air throughout auditoriums).''

Regal employees will undergo daily health screenings including temperature checks where mandated, will be required to wash hands every 30 to 60 minutes, and all employees will be required to wear masks.

Guests can purchase concessions with a mobile app while in the theater, but menu offerings have been reduced, and self-service condiment stands are closed.

Titles showing Saturday at the Irvine Spectrum were "Tenet,'' "Unhinged,'' "The New Mutants,'' "The Personal History of David Copperfield'' and "Broken Hearts Gallery.''

Regal's Edwards Aliso Viejo & IMAX theater was also open Saturday.

Meanwhile, AMC had re-opened its Orange County multiplexes as of Saturday, including the Anaheim GardenWalk 6, Dine-In Fullerton 20, Orange 30,
and Tustin 14 at The District.

AMC locations have similar capacity restrictions and safety protocols in place for guests and employees.