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Most California counties will be allowed to reopen movie theaters, bars, gyms, zoos, museums and other venues shuttered to curb the spread of the coronavirus starting Friday — all with major modifications.

As the coronavirus continues to spread statewide, California has been allowing spaces to reopen in phases and all at a reduced capacity to mitigate virus transmission.

Most recently, the state gave the green light for places of worship, barbershops, and hair salons and casinos to reopen with changes to adhere to social distancing, cleaning and screening protocols.

Counties that have received state approval to accelerate their reopening — including densely populated Los Angeles County — can choose to reopen additional venues beginning Friday. All employees at the spaces will have to wear masks.

Here are some of the state’s guidelines for reopening the new spaces that guests can expect to see:

Gyms and fitness centers

When they reopen, gymgoers can expect to see hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes on exercise machines, with gyms requiring users to clean equipment after they’re done with it.

Personal trainers will be wearing face coverings and keeping 6 feet of distance from clients, and group training classes will welcome fewer people or move outdoors. Saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs will remain closed. 

The state also suggested that the fitness centers implement a reservation system to limit the number of patrons at a facility at once and check-out system for using items like mats and exercise bands.

Gyms will be responsible for frequently cleaning equipment, countertops, vending machines, doorknobs, hand washing facilities, reception areas, locker rooms, restrooms, changing areas and showers.

Bars, restaurants and wineries

Restaurants have been open for dine-services in many counties, with eateries told to remove tables and chairs, or close off seating that can’t be removed, so that patrons can keep at least 6 feet away from each other.

The state encouraged restaurants to expand their seating outdoor if possible and open up doors and windows to increase fresh air circulation.

Patrons can expect to see electronic or disposable menus and waiters wearing masks.

Card stands, flyers, napkin holders, condiment bottles, salt and pepper shakers, and other shared food items will have to be removed from tables, state health officials said.

Customers won’t be able to sit at bars where they’ll be in close contact with others and can expect lower music volume so that employees don’t have to get too close to customers to hear their orders.

Tasting rooms will have to stop using spit buckets and spittoons, and instead hand each person their own disposable cup.

Zoos and museums

The state asked zoos, galleries, botanical gardens, aquariums and museums to limit the number of people going into the facilities at once, discontinue tours that bring different households together, and limit shuttle service.

The state asked the venues to keep customers a safe distance apart, including while standing in lines, by installing plexiglass barriers or making floor markings. it also recommended a timed reservation system to stagger visits.

Visitors can expect to be screened for coronavirus symptoms upon arrival and asked to use hand sanitizer and to wear a face covering.

Museums can’t yet host events and amusement, theme and water parks have to stay closed.

Zoos will have to stop live animal shows, unless they can ensure physical distancing and proper sanitation protocols.

Movie theaters and other entertainment centers

Movie theaters will have to limit capacity to 25% or no more than 100 guests, whichever is lower.

Guests can expect to arrive at a designated time after making a reservation and sit in assigned seats that keep moviegoers from different households at least 6 feet apart.

The health department recommended the theaters use disposable or washable seat covers, and said guests should at least wear their face coverings when buying concessions, and while entering and exiting the theater.

Ball pits, foam pits, indoor playgrounds, climbing structures and bounce houses will stay closed.

The state also asked venues to install barriers between games and seats to minimize exposure between customers.


Outdoor spaces intended for group functions, including pavilions, communal fire rings, public-use camp kitchens and amphitheaters will stay closed. Areas like sports fields, skateparks, basketball courts, tennis courts, trailhead and picnic areas will be monitored with staff asking people to keep 6 feet apart.

Reception areas will have to remove trail maps, books and pamphlets.

The state asked campgrounds and RV parks to implement remote check-in options for new arrivals and encourage visitors to pack out what they pack in to minimize the amount of trash that staff must dispose of.

Campgrounds and RV parks with cabins or other rental units will have to properly clean and disinfect those areas after each use, with officials asking staff to consider waiting at least 24 hours after customers leave before they start cleaning.