‘Should not become ridiculous’: Return of 1.5-metre rule surprises cinemas

‘Should not become ridiculous’: Return of 1.5-metre rule surprises cinemas
Credit: Belga

The Consultative Committee’s stricter coronavirus measures for indoor events also apply to cinemas in Belgium, but operators do not understand why the social distance measure between groups has also returned.

Since Monday 6 December, a maximum of 200 people can enter a cinema, a valid Covid Safe Ticket (CST) is required and everyone has to wear a face mask, but owners were surprised to find out the 1.5-metre rule between groups was also returning.

“That is a big problem for us, because we are convinced that we can let people watch a film safely without the distance rule. On top of that, this rule does not apply to theatre performances. We find that very strange,” Gaël Sempels of cinema UGC in Aarschot told VRT.

The obligatory 1.5-metre distance between groups was not announced by the Consultative Committee, which led to cinema owners being very surprised when the Royal Decree was published.

“We were forced to reduce the capacity of our venues to 30%. We apply the distance rule by always keeping two seats free on either side of a group, as well as one row free at the front and one at the back,” Sempels said. “Not much fun when you have to do that in the busiest period of the year.”

Owners are advising people to buy their movie tickets in advance, so they can be sure of a seat when they show up.

“I hope that the rule can be relaxed soon, because we are heading into a busy period with the Christmas holidays,” Sempels said. “We all want to ensure a safe situation, but it should not become ridiculous.”

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