It looks like Ontarians are going to be able to head back to movie theatres — at least, some movie theatres across the province — as of July 31. Twenty-five locations in total will be reopening in time for the long weekend, allowing 50 people per individual screen.
That number is up from last week, when it was announced that only 50 people per entire theatre would be allowed inside.
Cineplex, one of Canada’s biggest entertainment companies, is taking a phased approach to reopening, and expects a majority of its locations will reopen over the next several weeks, including its 43 other theatre locations across Ontario. It is the last province to open up theatres to the public.
Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Minister, happily confirmed the news on Twitter.
NEW: Earlier this morning I had a productive call with Ellis Jacob, President and CEO of@CineplexMovies to let him know cinemas will now be able to open in Stage 3 based on protocols approved by the Chief Medical Officer of Health. 🍿 🎞 🎬
— Lisa MacLeod (@MacLeodLisa) July 30, 2020
Cineplex has faced a number of hurdles over the last several months as it contended with a full closure of its theatres amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” said Ellis Jacob, president and CEO, Cineplex. “Entertaining is what we do best, and we simply can’t wait to safely welcome guests back to our theatres, for some much-deserved entertainment, fun and escape.”
Theatres will be offering tickets for $5 as a “welcome back” gesture to audiences, showing new releases and summer favourites like Beauty and the Beast, Jaws, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Invisible Man, Bloodshot, Sonic The Hedgehog, My Spy, Jurassic Park, Gravity and Jumanji: The Next Level.
Cineplex asserts it is implementing best practices and learnings from global counterparts as well as working in partnership with leading public health and infectious disease experts to maximize safety precautions.
Some of these measures include reserved seating in all auditoriums across Canada, enhanced cleaning practices, debit/credit payments only and mask requirements where provincial guidelines dictate. (A full list of guidelines can be found at Cineplex’s official site).
Cineplex plans to reduce the capacity of its theatres by 60-80 per cent, according to a company spokesperson. Movie times are also being staggered to avoid overcrowding, and guests are expected to follow social distancing guidelines as set out by the province.
Here is a list of theatres reopening Friday, in alphabetical order by city:
Galaxy Cinemas Barrie, Barrie
Cineplex Cinemas Hamilton Mountain, Hamilton
Cineplex Odeon Gardiners Road Cinemas, Kingston
Cineplex Cinemas Kitchener and VIP, Kitchener
SilverCity London Cinemas, London
The Rec Room (CF Masonville Place), London
Cineplex Cinemas Milton, Milton
SilverCity Newmarket Cinemas, Newmarket
Cineplex Odeon Niagara Square Cinemas, Niagara Falls
Cineplex Cinemas Winston Churchill & VIP, Oakville
Cineplex Odeon Oshawa Cinemas, Oshawa
Scotiabank Theatre Ottawa, Ottawa
Cineplex Cinemas Ottawa, Ottawa
Cineplex Cinemas Pickering and VIP, Pickering
SilverCity Richmond Hill, Richmond Hill
SilverCity Sudbury Cinemas, Sudbury
Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk, Toronto
Cineplex Cinemas Mississauga, Toronto
Cineplex Cinemas Queensway & VIP, Toronto
Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Eglinton and VIP, Toronto
Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas and VIP, Toronto
Cineplex Cinemas Yorkdale, Toronto
Cineplex Odeon Eglinton Town Centre Cinemas, Toronto
The Rec Room (Roundhouse), Toronto
Galaxy Cinemas Waterloo, Waterloo
Cineplex Cinemas Vaughan, Woodbridge
Landmark Cinemas also announced Thursday that they will be opening up their Ontario theatres as well, following the same guidelines and protocols as Cineplex. They are also offering the $5 deal on tickets.
Landmark’s opening theatre locations include:
Kanata & Orléans
— With files from The Canadian Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.