How going to the movies will change
Movie-goers keen for their popcorn fix may have to wait until July for cinemas in Australia to re-open.
The board of the National Association of Cinema Operators (NACO) released a statement this week to flag measures that would make cinemas safer amid the coronavirus pandemic and allow them to re-open.
It said it was hopeful that conditions would allow cinemas to re-open in July.
But this will also depend on major Hollywood studios releasing new films, which they may not chose to do until the majority of cinemas have re-opened around the world.
"It will not be possible to re-open until the major Hollywood studios confirm that the cinema releases that they have postponed or re-dated are available for the big screen theatrical global release that they were intended for," the statement said.
"NACO acknowledges that studios will not release new titles until the majority of cinemas are opened around the world."
The board said social distancing restrictions would have to be put in place and this would reduce the capacity of theatres. But it felt confident that cinemas could achieve certain measures as an industry standard.
• Staggered session times;
• Spaced seating to meet social distancing requirements;
• Contactless and cashless transactions wherever possible;
• Investment in sanitisation stations where appropriate;
• Increased frequency of cleaning cinemas;
• Staff "wellness" policies to ensure the wellbeing of staff; and
• The promotion of the COVIDSafe app among staff and customers.
The board said the industry was confident it could meet these standards but was conscious that it will not re-open before the government decides it is safe for cinemas to do so.
"Our operators' highest priority is the safety and wellbeing of their employees and guests, and we will continue to meet this responsibility," the statement said.
"We look forward to welcoming Australian audiences back to their local cinema soon with a slate of blockbuster movies including No Time to Die, Top Gun: Maverick, Mulan, Wonder Woman 1984, Peter Rabbit 2 and I Am Woman."
Businesses around Australia are developing potential roadmaps for how to re-open amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Nationally, the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) wants to begin limited trading of pubs and hotels in early June and hopes to see restrictions progressively lifted throughout the year.
It has recommended measures that could be taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus including cleaning of busy areas every 30 minutes, staff to wash their hands every half an hour, online ordering of food, the removal of communal cutlery trays and shared tap water jugs.
However, the AHA believes many businesses would not be able to stay operating in the longer term if they were forced to maintain 1.5 metre social distancing rules as their capacity would drop too low.
Restaurant and Catering Australia have also made recommendations for resuming dining including disposable cutlery, removing condiments on tables, making wipes available for patrons to wipe down keypads before use and keeping a 1.5 metre distance between tables.
Mr Morrison told news.com.au's Samantha Maiden during a Facebook Live on Wednesday night that restrictions would be eased gradually but "every one of those states is in charge of what happens in their state, ultimately".
"When we get back to what I'd call a 'COVID-safe Australia' - which is what we're aiming to get back to, when a lot of the restrictions will be able to be pared away - there will still be cases," Mr Morrison said.
"I mean, it won't be eradicated. There will still be outbreaks."
Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said once restrictions eased, authorities expected to see more outbreaks but they were hoping to keep these to case numbers of perhaps less than 100.
"That is the sort of thing we know we can manage," he told reporters on Tuesday.
"We don't want to have any situation where there is broad transmission over a long period of time where you end up with several hundred cases and a large outbreak.
"That is the sort of thing we are trying to avoid."
Prof Murphy said there were a number of activities that would be unlikely to resume including huge gatherings for footy grand finals.
Originally published as How going to the movies will change