Published Jun 30, 2020Canadian movie chain Cineplex is set to reopen multiple theatres across Canada this week, meaning many parts of the country will once again be able to experience the big screen.
On Friday (July 3), Cineplex will reopen multiple theatres in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Today the company stated it plans to open "as many locations as possible" in all provinces where it receives permission to do so.
Previously, Cineplex reopened six Alberta cinemas on June 26.
The move comes after the closure of over 160 theatres across Canada in mid-March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It also comes in the wake of a $2.8 billion takeover deal by U.K. theatre giant Cineworld to buy out Cineplex going up in flames.
As previously reported, Cineplex will be adopting a wide variety of new health and safety protocols during the reopening — from employees wearing PPE to new cleaning procedures to reduced-capacity seating.
However, masks will not be mandatory for guests, only encouraged. As such, masks will also be handed out free of charge at the theatre.
In financial documents released late Monday (June 29), Cineplex warned that the uncertainties it has faced "lend significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern," the Canadian Press reports.
"While Cineplex currently has sufficient liquidity to satisfy its immediate financial obligations, there can be no assurance that the steps that management is taking will provide sufficient liquidity in the near term to meet its ongoing obligations, nor can it be assured that it will be able to obtain additional financing at favorable terms, or at all," the company said.
In an interview with CP, Cineplex chief executive Ellis Jacob explained, "At this point we're looking to stabilize the company and get everything in the right place."
He added, "We're optimistic, but it's baby steps because we have to be careful."
In U.S., multiple movie chains have had to delay their reopening plans due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, putting increased scrutiny on Cineplex's reopening plans.
"I'd rather see an auditorium full of people than people watching at home," Jacob said. "We need to get the guests comfortable and we need to bring them back to our environment and then we will look at the opportunities as we move forward. We have to put this COVID fear behind us."
Cineplex has stated the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a $178.4 million loss in the first quarter of this year.
You can find out which theatres will be back open on Friday over here, as well as learn more about the new safety protocols here.