The Laurelhurst Theater's marquee in Portland, Ore., on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The Laurelhurst, like many theaters across the nation, has temporarily closed its doors due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

The Laurelhurst Theater's marquee in Portland, Ore., on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The Laurelhurst, like many theaters across the nation, has temporarily closed its doors due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

Claudia Meza / OPB

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Movie theaters in the Portland area have been shuttered since March, when the majority of businesses closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19. They will be allowed to reopen under Phase 2 guidelines set out by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. Now, theater owners are petitioning Gov. Brown to allow them to reopen under Phase 1 guidelines, like restaurants, bars and other businesses. Theater owners argue that they can follow all the same guidelines and restrictions that restaurants and bars do and that their spaces might even be safer. We hear from Tom Ranieri, owner of Cinema 21 in Northwest Portland. He wrote the letter to Brown that was signed by many other movie theater owners in the state.

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