Movie theatres adjust for new COVID-19 guidelines ahead of busy holiday film season

You won’t be able to eat popcorn or have a drink when you watch a movie at a theatre under new rules released by the Ontario government to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Under new restrictions, indoor venues with seating of more than 1,000 people must reduce their capacity by 50 per cent. 

Cineplex said the new guidelines will only effect it’s largest complexes, which have about 4,000 seats.

“It’s certainly going to have an impact over the holiday season, typically between Christmas and New Year’s is the busiest week we experience throughout the calendar year,” said Kevin Watts, Executive Vice President, Exhibition & LBE, with Cineplex. 

The new rules come as Spiderman: No Way Home enters theatres, along with the highly anticipated Matrix Resurrections is to appear in theatres of December 22nd. 

Cineplex says the Spiderman sequel had the biggest advance in one-day ticket sales for the movie chain and Watts said “There is a great demand and great response for people wanting to see this film.”

To prevent any confusion, Watts said if any customer has already purchased advanced ticket sales for a film they will be able to see it on the day and time they have selected.

“We just want everyone to know that the tickets they purchased are valid and they are able to go to their shows,” said Watts.

Under the new guidelines, food and drinks will not be allowed to be served in movie theaters and due to reduced seating requirements, moving forward movie goers may have to be more selective when it comes to selecting the theatre and times of movies they want to see. 

“They may have to find a different show time or a different theatre particularly in the GTA and search to maybe find a show time that’s available that suits them,” said Watts.

Cineplex said because many things are moving quickly when it comes to the virus, if someone has purchased advanced tickets they should keep an eye on their email account in case there are changes or updates. 

A spokesperson also told CTV New Toronto late this afternoon it was also reviewing “The most recent announcement made today by the province to see what it might mean for our theatres.”

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