El Capitan Theatre welcomes back moviegoers with limited capacity after yearlong closure

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Following a yearlong closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre on Friday welcomed back moviegoers with a showing of Disney's new animated film "Raya and the Last Dragon."

The historic theater on Hollywood Boulevard is one of many across California that are reopening with limited capacity amid a drop in COVID-19 cases and a rise in vaccinations.

The venue, which has about 1,000 seats, is currently allowing only 100 moviegoers per showing in accordance with health guidelines mandated by the state's red tier category.

"We've been receiving calls all week, and also messages on our social media," said James Wood, the theater's director of operations and stage productions. "And people are ready. The ticket sales are strong and we're very excited to greet them back.

Along with the reduced capacity, other protective measures include social distancing and the installation of hand-sanitizer stations and plexiglass separators at concession stands. Face coverings are also required inside the building.

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Meanwhile, AMC Theatres says it will have 98% of its U.S. movie theaters open on Friday as a bunch of theaters reopen in California. Even more theaters are expected to open by March 26.

AMC said that more than 40 of its locations in California are reopening beginning on Friday. California is expected to open 52 of its 54 locations by Monday. The Leawood, Kansas-based company is preparing to resume operations at the rest of its California locations once the proper local approvals are in place. AMC previously opened more than 500 of its theaters elsewhere around the country.

The Walt Disney Co. Is the parent company of the El Capitan Theatre and ABC7. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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