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Most local theaters ready to reopen this week

This weekend's plans got a lot more exciting with news that movie theaters are open again. All but one of Bakersfield's theaters are set to open this week now that Kern County is in the red tier, with the first welcoming moviegoers on Thursday.

Reading Cinemas Valley Plaza with IMAX will open Thursday with a lineup including options for families ("Raya and the Last Dragon," "Tom & Jerry" and "The Croods: A New Age") and adults ("Nobody," "The Courier" and "Chaos Walking").

Maya Cinemas CEO Francisco Schlotterbeck said he is thrilled to get back to business. As of this week, the chain will have five of its six theaters, including Bakersfield and Delano, welcoming moviegoers. 

"We’re very excited, fingers crossed," he said. "We're happy to reopen, happy for our staff and employees, for our community."

"People want to interact with more people. The social experience, social interaction is completely differently than what you feel at home with (watching) streaming service."

Schlotterbeck said staff are prepared with existing safety protocols and operating at 25 percent capacity per state guidelines.

"We’re not reinventing the wheel. That's the silver lining of opening last October," he said of operating before the shutdown late last year.

Staff will ensure patrons are following protocols like wearing masks other than when actively eating or drinking in their seats.

"They'll keep alert but do it in a nice way. They (guests) don't like people telling them what to do."

Maya's opening schedule includes newer releases as well as Oscar nominees "Promising Young Woman" and "Minari" and the classic film "Casablanca."

Schlotterbeck encourages guests to buy tickets in advance on the Maya website or app to avoid disappointment at the box office.

AMC Bakersfield 6 is set to open Friday with the action film "Nobody," Disney's "Raya and the Last Dragon" and "Tom & Jerry." 

Studio Movie Grill will also open Friday but had not posted its weekend schedule as of press time.

Although Cineworld, which owns the Regal Cinemas chain, will reopen some of its theaters on April 2, Edwards Bakersfield Stadium 14 at The Marketplace is not on that list.

The Fox Theater in Taft is tentatively set to reopen April 2.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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