How coronavirus has impacted cinemas

THE coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has affected the cinema industry, with many upcoming major releases delayed until November or later.

The new James Bond film No Time To Die, is the biggest blockbuster to be delayed from April 10 to November 25.

This, plus people self-isolating, has motivated local cinemas to put in practice a number of operational changes.

BCC Lismore is operating normally, with its biggest cinema seating 390 people and still receiving an average amount of spectators earlier this week.

Ballina Fair Cinemas confirmed some of its late night sessions have been scrapped, but most movie sessions remain on.

Cinema co-owner Paul McGrath said it’s still possible to practice social distancing while at the movies.

“We do not sell allocated seating and out biggest room is 250 seats so these days you can sit away from people and still enjoy a film on the big screen,” he said.

Kyogle Cinemas used social media this week to explain the situation to its patrons.

“We would like to assure our patrons that the highest level of cleaning is carried out at all times in our cinemas and additional measures are now being taken to make our cinemas even cleaner. As most patrons would be aware we are not your typical cinema chain that fills its seats at most sessions, it should be comforting to know that there is always plenty of seats available to provide you with plenty of space to yourself,” the business posted on social media.

“Due to the situation we will be closed on Thursday nights, and we will re-evaluate this and other sessions in the coming weeks, please check our website for any changes in sessions.”

Palace Cinemas Byron Bay confirmed they will be reducing the opening hours from approximately 1pm to 7pm only.

This will mean they will only be running three separate sessions per day from Thursday, March 19.

The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival is still scheduled to go ahead from March 31, “but a lot could change within the next two weeks”.

The Moro Spanish Film Festival, scheduled for late April, has been postponed until August 13, and the all other international film festivals scheduled at Byron Bay are yet to be confirmed.

Palace Cinemas CEO Benjamin Zeccola said health and safety of customers and staff is their main concern.

“We work hard to ensure that the cinema is a healthy and safe environment. The situation is being monitored and Palace Cinemas will act promptly on advice from the Australian Government Department of Health. All cinemas are cleaned thoroughly throughout the day before and after each session, overnight and our climate control services include air-filtration systems.

“As well as this, we are doubling down on the below measures for in-cinema cleaning:

We thoroughly clean and sanitise before and after every session; gloves are being worn by all staff for food preparation; overnight, our professional cleaning service is also sanitising all contact surfaces; and staff understand to not come to work if they experience fever or any coronavirus symptoms.

“At this moment in time, we are adhering to the advice from the Australian Government Department of Health, which is that it is not yet necessary to restrict movement in public places so we will continue to have regular sessions. However, you will be the first to know if this changes and will be given the option of either a full-refund or a session swap.”

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