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Universal Studios Hollywood Opens With Rides After Over Yearlong Closure



Universal Studios Hollywood
Photo Courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood opened its gates Thursday, marking the first time since guests are able to ride the attractions in over a year. 

Season pass holders are able to return on Thursday and the general public is able to enter the park on Friday, according to Universal Studios. 

At this time, theme park visitors are limited to California residents and party size is limited to a maximum of three households and ten people.

“Experience your favorite attractions such as the Studio Tour along with the all-new ‘The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash’ and ‘Jurassic World – The Ride’s’ a spectacularly realistic new dinosaur, Indominus Rex,” Universal officials said. 

While most rides will be operational, some rides, attractions and shows are set to reopen at a later date as the theme park complies with government restrictions, according to the park.

“Universal Studios Hollywood continues to work in partnership with health and government officials to implement new health and safety procedures that include physical distancing, required face coverings and significant limits on in-park capacity,” the company said. 

The park previously allowed visitors for the “Taste of Universal,” however all rides were closed. 

In the “orange” tier of the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy, capacity is set to increase to 25%, according to the state. 

On June 15, the blueprint is expected to end if hospitalizations remain stable and residents are able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Guests and team members are required to wear face coverings and undergo temperature checks, according to Universal.

Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater will not be able to enter Universal City Walk or Universal Studios Hollywood, according to the park’s guidelines. 

Prior reservations are required for all guests, including season pass holders, according to Universal.

For more information and to purchase a ticket, visit the Universal Studios Hollywood website here.

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Canyon Country Movie Theater Now Open After Over Yearlong Closure



Canyon Country Movie Theater Regal Edwards
Photo Courtesy of Yelp

The Canyon Country Regal Edwards movie theater opened on Friday after an over yearlong closure due to the pandemic. 

All three movie theaters in the Santa Clarita Valley are now open, following the reopening of the Regal location in the Valencia Town Center and the grand opening of the Laemmle Theatre in Newhall.  

Movie theaters were closed on March 15, 2020, and were first allowed to reopen as Los Angeles County entered the “red” tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy in March 2021.

On Thursday, new guidelines under the least-restrictive “yellow” tier of the blueprint were implemented under a modified health officer order.  

Theaters are able to operate at 50% capacity, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

Reserved seating only where each group is seated with at least six feet of distance between any other groups in all directions.

Seating sections can be established for fully vaccinated people without six feet distancing requirements provided there is three feet of distance between these sections and other seats in the theater.

Regal employees are expected to undergo daily health screenings including temperature checks where mandated and will be required to wash hands at minimum every 30 to 60 minutes, dependent on job role, according to the company.

Guests are required to wear a face mask at all times while in the theatre lobby and auditoriums. This includes face shields with masks or appropriate nose and mouth coverings.

“We will provide masks to guests who arrive at the theatre without one,” Regal officials said. “Masks can be removed only while eating and drinking while seated in an auditorium.”

Regal’s reservation system is expected to maintain two empty seats between groups, or one seat at recliner locations, to maintain proper social distancing throughout the movie theater.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit here.

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Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Reopening On May 15



Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Reopening
Photo Courtesy of Six Flags

Six Flags announced this week that Hurricane Harbor is set to reopen on May 15 after being closed for the summer of 2020.

On May 15, Hurricane Harbor is opening for season pass holders and May 22 to the general public, according to Six Flags.

Following guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health issued on Wednesday, Hurricane Harbor is expected to open to the public later this month.

The park will operate at reduced attendance levels, in accordance with state reopening guidelines for theme parks and waterparks, utilizing a reservation system, according to Six Flags. 

“With today’s announcement, 26 of our 27 parks will be welcoming guests this season,” said Senior Vice President of Park Operations, Bonnie Weber in a statement. “The safety of our guests and team members continues to be our highest priority, and we look forward to announcing an opening date for our theme park in Canada in the near future.”

Magic Mountain previously opened to the public on April 1, the first theme park in Los Angeles County to open after the pandemic hit.

Six Flags has established attendance caps for each park that are following current state guidelines to allow for proper social distancing. All Members, Season Pass holders and guests with a single-day or group ticket will need to make a reservation. Guests who buy single-day tickets will be able to reserve during the purchase process.

Under the state guidelines, the use of face coverings is mandatory throughout the park in all settings indoor and outdoor. 

Masks are not required while guests are actively eating or drinking, and while on a ride or in a setting that would cause the face covering to become wet.

Those without a face covering must remain six feet from people who are not in the same household. Guests who do not comply should be removed from the facility immediately. Face coverings must be made available to visitors who lose their face covering while in the park, according to the state.

In the “orange” tier, the park is limited to 25% capacity, with indoor pools and rides at 15% capacity, according to the guidelines. 

As soon as May 6, Los Angeles County can enter the “yellow” tier, which increases capacity to 40% for the entire park and 25% capacity for indoor rides. 

For more information on the reopening of Six Flags Hurrican Harbor, visit here

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Los Angeles Filming Permit Applications Reach Highest Level Since Start Of Pandemic



Los Angeles Filming

The number of Los Angeles filming permit applications has increased by 45% in March, reaching the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Since the resumption of on-location filming last June, FilmLA, a partner film office for the City and County of Los Angeles and other local jurisdictions has received 6,585 film permit applications, spanning 4,421 unique projects.

After the COVID-19 holiday surge and voluntary industry production pause in December and January, application activity surged 45% from February, with 777 applications, to March, with 1,125 applications.  

“The current pace of business resumption is encouraging. Continuing industry adherence to Appendix J protocols, which has made film sets among the safest possible workplaces during the pandemic, remains important even as local vaccine uptake increases,” said Paul Audley, FilmLA president in a statement.

FilmLA recorded a total of 7,011 shoot days from January through March 2021, down slightly by  3.3% from the same period the prior year. 

The largest year-over-year gains occurred in the television category, which experienced a 50.1% increase for a total of 3,766 shoot days, according to the office. 

Among all television sub-categories, reality TV series experienced the greatest rate of growth at 96.4% compared to Q1 2020.

TV dramas also increased significantly, growing 64%. A total of 24.7% of television drama shoot days came from projects qualified for the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, according to the office. 

Some of the television series filming locally during the quarter included “Generation,” “9-1-1: Lone Star,” “Mayans MC,” “NCIS: LA,” “Colin in Black & White” and “Shameless.”

Feature film production declined 13.5% in the first quarter versus Q1 2020, according to the office.

Commercial production generated a total of 993 shoot days last quarter, for a decline of 18.2% compared to the same period in 2020. 

Even though it is referred to as “the industry,” a reduction in filming has a ripple effect throughout several sectors in the Los Angeles region.

Lawren Markle, senior director of communications for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) said there are thousands of small businesses and contractors that also rely on the entertainment industry.

“It’s not just the on-set jobs that have been lost,” Markle said in a previous story. “There are hundreds of thousands of jobs that are contract-based to support the filming.”

Wrap-around industries including catering, sound, lighting, equipment rentals and many others have seen a down-tick in revenue since the pandemic.

These businesses are usually located near film studios, including ones in the Burbank area, but also scattered across the Southland.

Some of the jobs have started to come back in the entertainment industry, but it is only a “fraction” of what there was last year, Markle said.

Even though 2020 has seen a decline, there is hope for the filming industry in 2021, as long as the public continues to follow COVID-19 prevention measures to curb the spread.

“We can be seeing a new ‘Golden Age’ in the industry,” Markle said. “There are many productions waiting to be filmed.”

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