Ster-Kinekor have announced that they will reopen several cinemas at the end of this month after South Africa moved to level 2 lockdown restrictions.
There will be a maximum of 50 guests per cinema, with 32 cinemas around the country reopening on August 28 and another 21 on September 18. Deputy CEO, Motheo Matsau, has said the company, which owns almost two-thirds of the South African market, has taken every step to ensure that patrons can return to watch their movies in a safe environment.
“We’ve been getting ready to welcome patrons back to the cinema since the Government’s announcement on July 6. We have taken every step to ensure the safe return of our guests and staff to the cinema with our staff having undergone extensive COVID-19 operations training,” said Matsau, as reported by IOL.
Some of the measures that they will take is to regulate seating arrangements and mask floors in the foyers to guide patrons to socially distance while waiting in lines. They will also structure screening times in order to ensure foyers aren’t packed with too many patrons at once. Furthermore, tickets and snacks will only be sold online and through Ster-Kinekor’s app, with no transactions allowed in the cinemas. As is expected, stricter hygiene protocols will be in place.
After movies have ended, cinema goers will exit the theatres, row by row starting with the back row. They will be requested to pick up snack containers and throw them away in trash cans in the foyers. Cinemas will be regularly cleaned, customers will be screened for temperatures and will be required to wear a mask. Staff members will be screened every day before their work shifts begin.
“Before we open our doors, we will use a misting device to treat all our auditoria, as well as our lounge areas, foyers, hand railings and seats. We will continue to sanitise the cinemas before and after each show and have increased our cleaning times between every show to make sure all our seats and surfaces are clean and safe,” said Matsau. “We will wear face masks and gloves where required and our staff have been trained on safe work practices to ensure safety for themselves and for our guests.”
Ster-Kinekor’s protocols that will be put in place to reopen their cinemas will be an interesting development for our post-COVID-19, post-lockdown world and will set a precedent for similar gatherings in the film and entertainment industry. We are excited to see how the decision to reopen cinemas will play out.