Social Distancing at the Movies and Cancellations Around Town

Granada, Earl Warren Showgrounds, Public Library, A&L, and Others Cancel Events

More than 40 events have been canceled in and around Santa Barbara in the wake of coronavirus worries, including at the Granada Theatre. | Credit: courtesy

In the wake of Governor Gavin Newsom’s state-wide recommendation to cancel gatherings of 250 people or more, events and organizations across Santa Barbara County have fallen like dominoes throughout the day — the count is so far more than 40.

Metropolitan Theatres is now limiting attendance at Santa Barbara movie theaters to no more than 100 viewers per screen as part of the social-distancing strategy adopted in response to the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, company employees are cleaning more frequently. Customers who’ve signed up for premium plans allowing free refills of soda and popcorn will now get new cups; there will be no refilling of the old ones. This time of year has traditionally been a slow time for Hollywood releases, and the studios have announced they will be slowing it down even further.

As far as concerts at the Arlington Theatre, Metropolitan is leaving any social distancing policy up to the concert promoters.

The first major casualty for Earl Warren Showgrounds was this weekend’s Santa Barbara International Orchid Show, always a major production requiring more than a week of prep time. All public events at the Showgrounds are canceled through March 31. For Earl Warren Showgrounds, the loss of revenue will prove problematic in the extreme as the facility has just taken out a line of credit to begin addressing years of deferred maintenance. The fate of the annual Expo & Fair at the Showgrounds remains uncertain as it’s not scheduled until the end of April. Either way, the situation is dire enough that the Showgrounds’ board has scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss the public health risk posed by COVID-19.

In downtown Santa Barbara, the public library canceled all public events systemwide through April 30, and UCSB’s Economic Forecast Project scheduled for May 7 at the Granada Theatre is canceled. All other Granada events have likewise been nixed until the end of March.

All Lobero Theatre performances through March 31 are postponed, as well as all UCSB Arts & Lectures events through April 26.

“We know this unprecedented action will be disappointing to our audiences and artists, as it is to us,” said Caitlin O’Hara, publicist for Arts & Lectures. “However, the well-being of our students, patrons, artists, staff members and community is paramount during this time. We hope these actions will make a meaningful difference as we all face this difficult situation together.”

For the full list of events and cancellations, see the events page here.

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