Sudbury Indie Cinema to reopen with new COVID-19 protocols

The Sudbury Indie Cinema will reopen its doors on Thursday after being shut down to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patrons will be required to wear a mask unless seated and eating or drinking

It's anticipated about 40 people will be able to see a film at one time at the Sudbury Indie Cinema.

The Sudbury Indie Cinema will reopen its doors on Thursday after being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cinema shut down in March and had provincial approval to reopen in July but said it wanted to take its time planning the reopening.

To space people out, every second row has been blocked off and there be three empty seats between groups, says Beth Mairs, the programmer of the cinema's film selection. 

Mairs says when the film is over people will exit through the theatre directly into the parking lot. She says that avoids people returning to the lobby.

"That would help us reduce the possibility of people from one show mixing with people from the last show," she said.

Patrons will also be required to wear a mask. Mairs says the mask has to stay on unless someone is seated and eating a snack or having a drink.

Like in most retail stores, plexiglass barriers have been installed as well, she adds. 

The cinema is doing a soft re-launch. It will  be open between Thursday and Saturdays for the rest of August with two screenings each day.

Mairs says she's not sure how many people will show up to see a film. She anticipates they can fit about 40 people into the theatre, physically spaced out.

She says the cinema did send out a survey asking members if they would return once opened and many said yes. 

Beth Mairs is the programmer of the Sudbury Indie Cinema. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

"It suggested to us that there was a pent-up enthusiasm for returning to the cinema," she said. "But there's obviously a difference between intentional and actual behaviour." 

Mairs says she's excited and nervous for people to return.

"I hope everything will go well," she said, adding she knows that the changes will take some getting used to. 

"At the same time, we want people to be able to get [the feeling] … they got at the Indie Cinema before the pandemic struck."

For the first time in five months, the independent cinema in Sudbury will welcome back patrons tonight to watch films. We find out what measures they have in place to protect against COVID-19. 5:47

With files from Angela Gemmill


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