Belgian cinemas eye reopening before Christmas

Belgian cinemas eye reopening before Christmas
© Belga

Belgian cinemas are eyeing a come back in time for Christmas as they call on Belgian leaders to let them reopen by mid-December.

In a plea issued ahead of a Friday coronavirus meeting of the Consultative Committee, Belgian cinema operators are pleading to get the go-ahead for a reopening from 16 December.

"Operators of the cinema industry point out that movie theatres were never an outbreak hotspot," the Belgian Federation of Cinemas (FCB) said in a statement on Thursday, adding that authorities had deemed "exemplary" the way movie venues implemented sanitary measures.

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As the federal government sent Belgium back into lockdown on 1 November amid a trickling of uncoordinated restrictions imposed at a regional level, most cinemas moved to shutter after the last screening programmed on 28 October, citing a "concern for clarity for their staff and public."

"We sincerely hope that we will again be able to welcome the Belgian population during the Christmas holidays, in respect of our protocol, so as to offer residents a bit of well-earned relaxation," FCB secretary-general, Thierry Laermans, told BX1.

On the day of their closure ahead of the current lockdown, the FCB issued a statement sounding the alarm over the "marathon of closures" leaders resorted to to contain the pandemic, saying it was unclear how many cinemas would be able to survive a new shutdown.

After the second lockdown, cinemas in Belgium were allowed to reopen from 1 July, with many taking part in special promotions or organising outdoor screenings in efforts to draw the public back in.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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