Home Entertainment SA cinemas will open later this month – Here are the safety protocols that will be in place

SA cinemas will open later this month – Here are the safety protocols that will be in place

2 min read

Have you missed walking around on sticky floors, eating stale popcorn, drinking flat soda, children kicking you in the spine, and having your retinas melted by a cellphone lighting up in the dark as you’re trying to follow a story? Well, you’re in luck! With South Africa moving to Level 2 of the COVID-19 lockdown as of this week, cinemas are officially now set to reopen in just over a week’s time on Friday, 28 August.

So how will going to the cinema work in a COVID-19 world? Well, Ster-Kinekor has released its guide as to how the cinema chain will operate during this time. You can check it out in the embedded Twitter posts below.

For those of you who can’t view the video above, here are the key points:

  • Wearing masks will be mandatory
  • Cinemas, including all frequently touched surfaces and lounge areas outside, will be sprayed down with a sanitizing mist regularly
  • The number of cinemagoers will be limited per venue to conform to government regulations
  • Individual seats/whole rows will be cordoned off to maintain 1.5m social distancing regulations
  • No cash transactions will be allowed at the venue – all ticket and concession sales need to be done via the Ster-Kinekor mobile app or website

We’re yet to see anything from NuMetro – the other big cinema chain in SA – but I would be very surprised if they deviated from this approach in any way. Is this enough to get you comfortable going back to the cinema though? My biggest point of contention is that concessions are still being sold. Understandably, this is actually where cinemas make their money and not movie ticket sales (hence the inflated prices), but making masks mandatory is pointless when you’re also encouraging people to remove them to consume snacks. There’s also no mention of additional ventilation, as several international cinema chains have employed as part of their reopenings.

As for what you will actually get to see at the cinema seeing as 2020 has been plagued with high profile movie delays, currently, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is actually scheduled to open on IMAX on 28 August so that may just be a big enough lure to get movie fans back. A week later we’re getting The New Mutants (4 September) and then Mulan a week after that (11 September). Will you be going to see any of them?

Last Updated: August 19, 2020


  1. I’ll do this for a movie like TENET or WW1984, but probably wont watch as many movies as I would have normally.


  2. David Scott Duncan

    August 19, 2020 at 12:44

    I just want to watch Tenet, then I’ll be happy


  3. Mr_Pops

    August 19, 2020 at 12:45

    Does the seat spacing mean that I can’t sit next to my wife in the cinema?


  4. CrAiGiSh

    August 19, 2020 at 15:58

    50/50 at the moment.


  5. Son of Banana Jim

    August 19, 2020 at 17:10

    lol, you won’t find me in sitting in a cinema; not any time soon There are still some major questions to be answered, relating to how Covid can be spread in enclosed spaces, particularly when you take into account the quality of the ventilation in some of our shopping centres and within our cinemas. It just seems like such a dumb idea to put yourself at risk like that… Take into account, how air is circulated in a cinema, and the fact that you’re basically sitting in one spot for an extended period of time. Sure, you have a mask on, but you will be fiddling with it, as you eat your popcorn, touch your face, touch the straw on your cooldrink etc.

    We know from the flu season that cinemas and shopping centres are a perfect place to contract the flu or the cold, and while I know places like Canal Walk have changed how they do their ventilation and they’re actively trying to avoid stagnant air (even during winter). It still remains a risk with Covid.

    So, no…

    You have other avenues to watch your re-released movies, from bluray, to streaming to good ol’ flying the Jolly Roger.


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