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Movies could be back in theatres by the end of June

Cineplex is aiming to have a gradual reopening of their Canadian movie theatres, starting with six locations in Alberta later this month.
Jonathan Bradley Montreal, QC

Cineplex is aiming to have a gradual reopening of their Canadian movie theatres, starting with six locations in Alberta later this month, according to a press release issued by the company.

Cineplex’s press release said they are “diligently preparing for their safe reopening with the health and safety of their employees and guests being their top priority.”

Cineplex’s press release said they plan to begin showing movies at the six locations in Alberta on June 26. Sarah Van Lange, the executive director of communications at Cineplex, said in an email the company has not determined which locations are reopening.

The company hopes to reopen on July 3 “in all markets where Cineplex is permitted by government and health authorities.”

There will be enhanced health and safety protocols implemented in all locations. Auditoriums will have reserved seating to ensure physical distancing.

Cineplex acknowledged that COVID-19 might have a negative impact on their business, but they have implemented measures to mitigate it.

Some of these measures include temporary lay-offs of all part-time and full-time employees, suspending and deferring current capital spending and reviewing, and negotiating rent relief with landlords.

Cineplex closed all of their 164 movie theatres in Canada in mid-March, which was when movie distributors stopped putting out new titles. There have been a few smaller movies released in the past few months, but Hollywood studios are reluctant to release new titles without confidence people will visit their local movie theatres.

Warner Bros. pushed Tenet, one of the major summer movies on schedule, back two weeks to July 31. Wonder Woman 1984 has been postponed.

Van Lange said the company is prepared to welcome moviegoers.

“At all of our theatres and entertainment venues, we will be enhancing our cleaning protocols to the highest levels, ensuring our team has the personal protective equipment they need to keep everyone safe and implementing physical distancing measures throughout our buildings, including our lobbies, games floors and food service areas,” said Van Lange.

It remains unclear if guests will be required to wear masks.

Other parts of the world have struggled to reopen movie theatres. Chinese officials allowed movie theatres to reopen, but they have been closed again over fears of a second wave of COVID-19.

Cineplex said it will be resuming business one step at a time. They will be starting with “measured operations” at Rec Room locations in Winnipeg, Calgary, and Edmonton this week.

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