The Federation of Cinemas in Belgium has reacted favourably to Friday’s decision by the Consultative Committee to lower the country’s Coronavirus code to Yellow from 7 March, Belga News Agency reports.
“We are happy. Not only is there no more gauge limiting cinema halls’ capacity, but it is above all no longer necessary to check for the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) and the wearing of facemasks,” the Federation’s Secretary-General, Thierry Laermans, said on Friday.
Code Yellow means the lifting of most of the restrictions that had been put in place to stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus: no more CST, gauges and compulsory facemasks except in public transport and institutions, for persons above the age of 12 years.
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“We’ve been waiting for this transition to Code Yellow for a long time,” Mr. Laermans said. “It’s a bit of a pity, nevertheless, that it has come after the recreational holidays (Carnival). We had to close for a long time and the measures imposed on us were stricter than in other sectors, but we are coming out of it, and one needs to look at the positive side and hope there will be no more waves.”
However, while the health situation is improving, the Federation’s members are still feeling the effects of the economic crisis it spawned. “Now we are waiting for the assistance,” Mr. Laermans said. “We’re still in discussions on that issue."
He feels the resumption will not be easy, firstly because “investments were delayed due to the losses” caused by the health crisis, and secondly because of current energy prices. “Energy costs are high for cinema halls (heating, projectors, ventilation etc.),” he said, adding that the situation in Ukraine could make things even worse.