2020 has been a trying time for movie fans. Not only have many of the exciting blockbuster movies we were all looking forward to been delayed, but just getting to enjoy the privilege of being in a cinema has been taken away from us. Yes, we can always watch movies at home, but there is something special about going out to watch a new movie that you are looking forward to on the big screen, with impressive sound and as little distraction as possible while spending all of your hard-earned cash on overpriced popcorn and soft drinks.
It’s an event that is soon coming back though, as the government announced several weeks back that cinemas would soon be allowed to reopen. What they did not announce though, was how the movie-going experience would change in an effort to combat the current COVID-19 pandemic. Officially gazetted rules and regulations (via Business Tech) that cinemas will need to adhere to, have finally been revealed:
They must limit their operating hours as per the amended standard operation procedure posted on the website of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture;
Places or premises must provide limited service and contact as far as possible between the staff and visitors so as to prevent any form of gathering;
Cinemas and theatres are limited to 50 people or less, excluding staff members;
Sufficient hand sanitisers must be made available;
Social distancing between customers and staff should be followed wherever possible. A distance of 1.5 metres must be maintained;
All customers should wear cloth masks at all times except for eating and drinking;
Contactless payments and pre-booking should be available wherever possible;
The premises should be deep-cleaned before reopening, and commonly used areas should be sanitised frequently;
Protection equipment must be given to employees;
A dedicated area should be set aside for people who have developed coronavirus symptoms;
A person with an elevated temperature can be refused entrance into the premises.
These are all rules which make a lot of sense, though I can’t help but feel that it won’t to help the industry much. Not only are people unlikely to want to go to cinemas given that we have yet to reach our peak in the COVID-19 season, but with a limit of only 50 people (which is at least consistent with other government standards on public gatherings), it means that movies would need to be shown on multiple screens to have any sort of impact at the box office and make their money back. This is something which I can see few movies taking a chance on, meaning that we are probably still unlikely to see new movie releases anytime soon. Though much like we’ve seen in the US of A, now might be a great time to release some classic films into theatres once again or perhaps some obscure low budget film to slowly lure people back into the comfort of going to the movies again. Also, expect ticket prices to probably go up as well.
With the likes of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet set to release at the end of the month, it’ll be interesting to see what approach theatres take with that film. On the plus side, if you do go to the cinema to watch it, at least it won’t be too full and you can do so in peace and quiet.
Last Updated: July 7, 2020