Arena Cinelounge in Hollywood is first movie theater to reopen in LA area

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Arena Cinelounge Sunset in Hollywood reopened Friday with new safety precautions. It's the first theater to reopen in the L.A. area, and according to its Twitter account, opening night tickets are nearly sold out.

"The theater experience - it is communal, but we're going to have separated seats, we're gonna make sure everybody feels comfortable here and the magic is going to return," said Christian Meoli, the theater's owner.

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Los Angeles County again loosened its coronavirus health restrictions, allowing more businesses to reopen beginning Friday provided they meet required safety protocols.

Meoli has been busy preparing for reopening, building in 30 minutes between shows to sanitize seats and spacing people out. The theater is only allowing 15 inside, with a few familiar faces filling the space.

"You may be fortunate enough to have a celebrity or two sitting right in front of you," said Meoli.

Meoli knows people are eager to come back, understanding they want to go somewhere they feel safe - something he says an art house theater, like his, can do easily.

"We're a small business movie theater and for us it's super important that we get up and running and telling stories again ASAP," he said.

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Although some of the setup will be different, he says the good popcorn stays the same.

"It's all prepackaged as are all of our concessions, so I think a contact-less experience is what we're all going for," said Meoli.

Theater reservations are suggested since seating for each screening is now limited. You can do that on the theater's website.
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