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Movie theaters join zoos, bars, pools and gyms in reopening Friday


Last updated 6/11/2020 at 1:41am

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego County officials announced today that indoor movie theaters will be allowed to reopen Friday, joining bars, zoos, community swimming pools and hotels in the next step forward to restarting the regional economy, while stressing the importance of continuing to take precautions to protect against COVID-19.

County Supervisor Greg Cox said movie theaters will follow similar occupancy rules to churches, with a maximum of 25% of the room's capacity or 100 customers and typical sanitizing and facial covering requirements in queues in effect.

However, not every business able to open Friday necessarily will, Cox said, referencing the San Diego Zoo's announced June 20 reopening date.

Meanwhile, county health officials reported 108 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths involving individuals ranging in age from 27 to 88, raising the county totals to 8,837 cases and 305 deaths.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, said that 291 of 305 people who died had underlying medical conditions.

Since Tuesday, the county logged another 3,854 tests, raising the cumulative total to 203,579. The 108 positive tests recorded Wednesday comprise 3% of the total, same as the 14-day rolling average for positive tests. Area hospitals currently are treating 373 COVID-19 infected patients, 153 of whom are in intensive care.

Since the pandemic began, 16.4%, or 1,447, of all positive-testing patients have been hospitalized, 4.6%, or 410, have spent some time in intensive care and 3.5% have died.

"The dangers of COVID-19 are as real today as they were in March,'' said county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

He cited ballooning hospitalization rates in Orange and Ventura counties and a continued crisis in Los Angeles County in saying that while San Diego County has avoided the worst of the pandemic so far, caution must be exercised to avoid a second wave.

The county is still "green'' on 13 triggers it has identified as indicators of a resurgent virus, but numbers from Memorial Day, subsequent reopenings of restaurants and mass protests have not yet arrived and could show

a significant uptick, officials said.

Wooten said Monday an expected spike in cases from restaurants reopening for dine-in service two weeks ago has not yet occurred, to the credit of business owners who followed sanitation and social distancing protocols.

"I like to think our restaurant industry has done a phenomenal job,'' she said.

Hispanic or Latino residents represent 43.1% of all coronavirus deaths in the county, followed by white residents at 42.7%.

According to a 2017 demographics profile from the county's Health and Human Services Agency, the region's percentage of Hispanic or Latino residents was 33.4%, while white residents made up 46.2% of the county's population.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency-funded Great Plates program -- which partners with local restaurants to deliver food to seniors during the pandemic -- had been scheduled to end Wednesday, but was extended through July 10.

More than1,400 people have received meals from 31 restaurants under the program.


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