Albertans who have been missing going to movies during the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to head back to the big screen next week.
Both Cineplex and Landmark Cinemas have announced they will be reopening on June 10.
“We recognize the new appreciation our guests have for the theatrical experience and we can’t wait to welcome them back to our theatres, as nothing compares to the big screen and big sound that we’ve been missing for so long,” Sarah Van Lange, executive director of communications for Cineplex said in a news release Friday.
Cineplex theatres across Alberta reopened last summer as cases of COVID-19 dropped in the province. They were closed again in December as the province introduced further restrictions amid climbing case numbers.
When theatres reopen, they will be operating at 30 per cent capacity per auditorium and all seats will be reserved to ensure physical distancing.
Movie goers are asked to arrive no more than 15 minutes before showtime and to follow all distancing signage in the lobbies.
Movie times will be spread out to reduce the number of people in the lobby as well.
“We continue to prioritize health and safety measures to ensure that our theatres are a safe, relaxing and inviting space for movie-lovers to escape with family and friends,” Van Lange said.
A full explanation of safety measures being taken by Cineplex is available on its website.
Moviegoers at Landmark theatres will need to wear a non-medical face covering over their nose, mouth and chin while in the theatre. The covering can be taken off for people to enjoy snacks once in their seats.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is asked to stay home.
Landmark Cinema will also be collecting information for contact tracing when moviegoers purchase tickets online or through the Atom Ticketing app.
Theatre occupancy will be reduced to 25 per cent and select locations will offer reserved seating to ensure proper distancing.
Landmark will also be reducing and staggering show times to reduce the number of people at the movie theatre at once.
“We are fully prepared to provide movie lovers with a safe and enjoyable movie-going experience,” Bill Walker, CEO of Landmark Cinemas, said.
A full explanation of safety measures being taken by Landmark Cinemas is available on its website.
When they reopen, both companies will be showing new releases including The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Spirit Untamed, A Quiet Place Part II, and Cruella, In the Heights and Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway.
Movie theatres fall under Stage 2 of Alberta’s Open for Summer plan that will come into effect on June 10, two weeks after the benchmark of 60 per cent of Albertans receiving their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and hospitalizations dropping below 500.
Once 70 per cent of Albertans have received one dose of vaccine, Alberta will enter Stage 3 two weeks later. That stage will see all restrictions across the province lifted.
Global News has reached out to Landmark Cinemas for information about its reopening plan. This story will be updated if a response is received.