Vue, one of Europe’s largest cinema chains, has revealed a number of measures it will look to enforce this summer when cinemas look to reopen in the U.K.
The cinema operator said it “welcomes” the government’s plan to open cinemas from July 4, which was confirmed yesterday as part of an official recovery roadmap shared with Parliament. As revealed by Variety last week, exhibitors and industry orgs such as the UK Cinema Association (UKCA) were initially proposing a late June reopening date to the government, but most large businesses appear to be satisfied with the tentative early July restart.
“We have been liaising closely with authorities across Europe to design operating procedures that can provide the degree of social distancing required and allow an experience for our customers and staff that is as safe as possible,” said Vue.
The business said it will work further with the government and the UK Cinema Association to demonstrate specific steps to take safeguard patrons. These measures include physically isolating family groups through Vue’s online booking systems, staggering film times to maintain social distancing and introducing “enhanced cleaning and employee protection protocols.”
“Big screen entertainment is a force for good in society, providing an accessible and controlled way for families to begin to enjoy life outside their homes and we are excited to be able to start planning for a future where we can enjoy movies together again,” said Vue.
The measures are in line with what Vue boss Tim Richards shared with Variety last month, when he first revealed the company’s IT department was working up new operational protocols where, upon booking, families and couples can sit together and “automatic social distancing” is enforced.
The business is eyeing Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” as its first major release this summer. The film, if it maintains its July 17 release date, is expected to “galvanize” the exhibitor sector as it slowly reopens doors after a months-long shutdown.
Vue is understood to be in the process of reopening venues in a number of markets by June, with plans in place to open some screens in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands in the coming weeks. Vue’s cinema in Taiwan has remained operational during the pandemic.