French movie theatres get ready to re-open
- 22 June is the date by which the many measures set out in the Health and Safety Guide must be implemented and cinema release schedules re-adjusted
As the Covid-19 epidemic continues its steady decline in France and the mood begins to shift towards a much-needed return to business, the country’s movie theatres are going over the conditions required for their re-opening, authorised to take place from 22 June. Clearly, the stakes are high for the 2,054 establishments (including 232 multiplexes) housing 6,114 screens, boasting 213 million admissions in 2019 and flocking in great number towards the CNC’s support fund (the driving redistributive force in French film production).
Closed since 15 March, cinemas will finally raise their curtains in line with the recommendations of the French Health and Safety Guide, which has been approved by the public authorities and which lists the actions (likely to be reviewed as the health situation changes) necessary in order for cinemas to resume activities. These are highly detailed measures aimed at safeguarding the health of employees and viewers without deterring lovers of the 7th art from returning to the familiar darkness of movie theatres.
Crucially, in this respect, the wearing of masks will not be compulsory in cinema auditoriums but will simply be recommended in lobbies and common spaces. Moreover, the capacity of each auditorium must be reduced by 50%, with one seat left empty either side of each spectator. Meanwhile, people who arrive together (couples, families...) will be able to sit next to one another, with one seat left empty either side of their mini-group. Among its many other recommendations (from regular disinfection of the premises to ticket sales protocols and social distancing), the Guide also encourages the staggering of neighbouring auditoriums’ seance times so as to spread the flow of viewers over as wide a period as possible, the spacing out of successive seances within each auditorium to ensure the public can move in and out freely, and regular aeration of the premises.
For their part, distributors are finally in a position to establish a firm release schedule and to determine their strategies for the second semester. Making a return to the big screen as of 22 June are all those films which were showing in cinemas when the latter were closed, while new releases are already planned for 24 June and 1, 8 and 14 July (the full list of titles can be found here).
(Translated from French)
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