Thursday 26 November, 2020

Cinemas set to reopen on Wednesday

File photo.

File photo.

Moviegoers can get ready to begin enjoying their popcorn and the big cinema screen once again when movie theatres reopen on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Saturday announced an easing of restrictions for cinemas – they would be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity but food can now be served.

The movie theatre exhibitors (MovieTowne, CinemaONE, Caribbean Cinemas and Estate 101) previously said they would remain closed until they could open their concessions. They said the restriction on the sale of food and drink made it “financially impossible” for them to reopen.

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Chin said he’s pleased that the restrictions on eating and drinking at the theatres have been lifted because that’s where cinema operators make their profits.

He explained: “The reason we remained closed was because of the decision that prevented sales with concession. Box office sales don’t bring in that much – it’s the sale of food and drink that represents a large percentage of our profitability.”

He assured that patrons would enjoy the same prices as before when MovieTowne reopens on Wednesday.

Patrons can also expect the same protocols which were in place when cinemas were briefly opened in June.

“We are doing what we have to do. As per the Ministry of Health’s guidelines, we’ll ensure social distancing and the wearing masks. We’ll be operating at 50 per cent capacity and at the cinemas there’s no interaction like on a beach or in the supermarket.

You’ll take your mask off when you have to eat or drink while watching the movie but you’ll be asked to put on the mask if you’re going to bathroom,” Chin said.

He said he doesn’t foresee any issues with patrons complying with these rules.

The MovieTowne owner added that Wednesday’s opening is a new opportunity to show that cinemas are following the rules and there’s little chance of COVID-19 being spread in that environment.

Chin said the period of closure has been tough on staff and some have moved on to find alternative employment.

He said those still with the company are happy to be back out and he’s hopeful that sales will pick up and they’ll be able to advance salaries. He said they’ll be seeking to rehire staff they lost along the way as well.

Caribbean Cinemas is also set to reopen its doors on Wednesday.

It reminded patrons “be the protagonist of your own safety” by following all established COVID-19 protocols while at the cinema.

These guidelines include wearing masks except when eating, maintaining a physical distance from other guests while in line, restrooms or the lobby area and leaving space between rows and every two seats while in the theatre.

Caribbean Cinemas is also encouraging patrons to make use of its online ticketing system for tickets and concession items or a contactless experience.

They have new releases out like Tenet, AVA, Greenland, Let Him Go, just in time for the reopening on Wednesday.

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