Cineplex opening 25 theatres in Ontario on Friday after province allows expanded capacity
Published Thursday, July 30, 2020 11:03AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 31, 2020 1:58PM EDT
Cineplex has announced plans to open 25 cinemas across the province on Friday after Ontario's chief medical officer of health gave movie theatres the green light to expand capacity.
Canada's largest movie theatre chain made the announcement after senior government officials confirmed to CTV News that cinemas will now be permitted to host up to 50 people per screening with multiple screenings permitted in the same building at one time.
Initially, movie theatres were allowed to reopen as part of Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan but were only permitted to allow a total of 50 people in the building at one time, regardless of how many screens were inside the facility.
Many movie theatre chains, including Cineplex and Landmark, indicated that reopening large cinemas to so few movie-goers would mean operating at a loss and declined to reopen to customers as regions entered Stage 3.
“The past four months have given us a new appreciation for the importance of friends and family and the power of shared experiences with those we love,” Ellis Jacob, the president and CEO of Cineplex, said in a written release issued Thursday.
“Entertaining is what we do best, and we simply can’t wait to safely welcome guests back to our theatres."
Cineplex said it will open 25 cinemas Friday, including its Yonge and Dundas location and six other movie theatres in Toronto, which entered Stage 3 at midnight.
The company said it is taking a “phased approach to reopening” and expects that the majority of its 43 other locations will resume operations over the next several weeks.
Masks must be worn if mandated by municipality
According to the company, all theatres will open with “enhanced cleaning measures” and updated procedures to ensure appropriate physical distancing inside and outside auditoriums.
The movie theatre chain said it will be launching reserved seating in all auditoriums across Canada and seating options will be blocked off to ensure proper physical distancing.
High-contact surfaces, including seats and washrooms, will also be subject to "enhanced cleaning practices."
The company noted that in "communities where it is mandated," masks will be required inside the theatre.
Food and beverage options will also be limited to popcorn and "other core concessions."
Cineplex also announced plans to reopen The Rec Room at Toronto's Roundhouse, as well as The Rec Room London and Playdium Whitby. The sites will operate on reduced hours, have limited food options, and will have "enhanced safety and cleaning measures" in place, the company said.
Cineplex said it will be offering $5 tickets and showing "popular new releases and summer favourites" to welcome people back to the cinema.
-With files from CTV News Toronto’s Colin D’Mello