movie theatres open

Movie theatres near Toronto have reopened and this is what's different now

With seven more regions of Ontario entering into Stage 3 of reopening Friday, more residents outside of Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex will be able to do things like hit the gym (or at least, line up in the hopes to), dine indoors and catch a movie if they so choose.

And while gyms and restaurants have their own sets of health and safety measures in place to mitigate the risk of potential COVID-19 outbreaks, residents may be wondering how movie theatres are going to keep patrons and staff safe.

Independent theatres in Hamilton, Durham, and other nearby regions are doing the things that we've become used to from other businesses under the new normal: blocking off seats to ensure proper physical distancing, reducing their capacities (in this case to no more than 50 in the entire building), and cleaning and sanitizing things far more often.

Theatres such as Playhouse in Hamilton have also installed plexiglass at cash registers and snack bars, added floor decals to instruct people to stay well apart, and will remind moviegoers that they will have to wear a mask indoors in accordance with the city's mandatory mask policy.

Cineplex, the largest theatre chain in Canada, has decided to hold back on reopening Ontario locations for now — despite the fact that some parts of the province were permitted to proceed to Stage 3 on July 17 — saying earlier this month that it is "still reviewing what's being proposed by the province" and is "not yet in a position to open."

"While we are certainly excited for the day our operations can resume, our top priority has always been the health and safety of our employees and guests and ensuring that their time with us is safe, comfortable and welcoming," it said in a statement to media.

The pandemic hit the company and the entire industry particularly hard, with filming for productions suspended for months and very little way to supplement usual business operations, like restaurants have been able to do with takeout and delivery.

Cineplex — which was due to be purchased by Cineworld, who backed out mid-health crisis — has now asked the province to consider bending its rules for gathering sizes indoors as it continues to struggle and lay off staff.

Lead photo by

Playhouse Cinema

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