How cinemas will work when they reopen next week – new rules and changes in full
Ahead of cinemas reopening to the public up and down the country next week, an industry body has published a list of rules and guidelines that must be followed in order to keep both audiences and staff safe as people return.
Cinemas in England will be able to welcome back customers from July 4, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.
In preparation, the UK Cinema Association (UKCA) has released guidance for the safe re-opening of movie theatres, following consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
All major cinema operators have assured customers that extra cleaning of all the auditoriums will take place, and hygeine measures such as hand sanitiser points, will be installed.
Guidance also includes measures to ensure social distancing throughout cinemas, with an emphasis on auditoriums. Seating will be socially distanced, and groups from different households will be asked to sit apart.
Customers will be asked to use contactless payment where possible, the guidance said, while online booking will also be encouraged.
Plastic screens will be installed at "key contact points" and film schedules will be adjusted, with staggered start and finish times for films to allow cleaning of auditoriums between screenings and to avoid crowding in corridors.
The guidance is intended to apply to both cinemas in fixed buildings and mobile cinemas, the UKCA said, but it does not include drive-in cinemas and other open air screenings.
Phil Clapp, chief executive of the association, said: "Today's launch represents an important next step in our efforts to once again bring the big screen experience to the cinema-going public.
"We know from recent surveys that a large proportion of our audience can't wait to come back, but they understandably want to know the steps that cinemas will be taking to ensure their continued welfare."
Showcase Cinemas said it will reopen on July 4 while Vue and Cineworld and Picturehouse cinemas have announced plans to reopen on July 10.
Odeon, Curzon, Everyman and Empire have not yet confirmed a reopening date.
Some independent and smaller cinemas, including Showroom in Sheffield, have opted to remain closed due to concern for safety of staff and visitors.