Camino Real Cinemas in Goleta.
Camino Real Cinemas in Goleta will reopen to moviegoers — with limited seating and other COVID-19 precautions — on March 26, according to the Metropolitan Theatres Corp. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

Movie buffs in the Santa Barbara area will be able to make their way back into theaters by the end of the month now that Santa Barbara County has moved into the less-restrictive red tier under California’s COVID-19 Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Metropolitan Theatres Corp. announced Wednesday that it plans to open two of its many local theater complexes — Camino Real Cinemas in Goleta and the Fiesta 5 Theatres in downtown Santa Barbara — on March 26 and March 31, respectively.

“Moviegoers will be welcomed back to the cinema just as blockbusters re-emerge on the big screen with the likes of ‘Godzilla vs Kong’ on March 31, ‘Peter Rabbit 2’ coming in May for families, and the highly anticipated ‘Quiet Place 2’ opening Memorial Day weekend,” the company said in a press release.

In the red tier, movie theaters are allowed to open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Metropolitan noted that its theaters will reopen “in accordance with local mandates and will offer enhanced cleanliness, sanitizing and safety measures at every step of the moviegoing experience.”


» Auditoriums will be disinfected between showtimes.

» Theaters will have reduced capacities to maximize physical distancing.

» All showtimes offer reserved seating with social distancing technology that will automatically block seats adjacent to a party upon ticket purchase.

» Face masks will be mandatory for all guests within the theater and may be removed only for eating and drinking while in the auditoriums. Face masks and gloves will be required for all employees.

» All public and high-contact touch points will be disinfected frequently.

» Sanitization stations are placed throughout the theater for customer use.

» Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets online or on the new Metropolitan Theatres mobile app allowing for contactless payment methods to provide a more contact-free experience.

More information about the theater reopenings is available on the company’s website.

Santa Barbara County Reports 34 COVID-19 Cases, No Deaths

Santa Barbara County reported 34 new COVID-19 cases and no additional deaths on Wednesday.

The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county rose slightly — to 42 from 40 — while those being treated in intensive care units dropped from 15 to 14.

Still-infectious cases remained essentially the same at 183.

There have been 434 COVID-19 deaths to date in the county, and 32,703 total cases.

Of the new cases announced Wednesday, 15 were in Santa Maria with eight in the Santa Barbara area and six in the Lompoc Valley. The Santa Ynez Valley and the Goleta Valley each reported two cases, and there was one case in the Montecito-Summerland-Carpinteria area.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.