- Nu Metro cinemas will reopen on Friday, 28 August.
- The cinema chain has put stringent health protocols in place.
- Cinemas will initially only be open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
After five months of being shut because of the national lockdown period in South Africa due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nu Metro told Channel24 that the cinema chain will start to reopen most of its cinema complexes on 28 August.
Ster-Kinekor earlier this week said that it would be reopening the first batch of 32 of its cinemas on 28 August, followed by another 21 on 18 September.
Nu Metro will now also reopen its cinema complexes in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Giyani (Limpopo).
It will initially only open its cinema complexes on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, with limited showtimes per day and films times staggered as to limit the number of people entering, exiting and standing in cinema foyers.
Cinemas not opening on 28 August will temporarily remain shut in what Nu Metro calls part of its "responsible reopening strategy".
"Nu Metro is very excited to go big again with the magic of the movies," says Chantelle Burrows, Nu Metro cinemas marketing and content executive.
"Nothing can ever replace the cinematic experience of enjoying movies in the way they were meant to be seen. Our commitment and responsibility towards customers have never been stronger as we face this 'new normal' together. The public's safety, as well as the safety and health of our team members, is our highest priority. Nu Metro has been anxiously anticipating this moment to reopen our doors to movie fans once again, as part of a coordinated industry effort to restart this business we love to call showbiz."
Apart from Nu Metro's regular 2D and 3D cinemas, most of their premium cinema experiences will also reopen on a limited basis in select complexes – including multi-sensory 4DX, "Premium Large Format" Xtreme and luxurious VIP theatres.
Nu Metro says that its VIP cinema experience will include bar- and sit-down restaurant services with the required social distancing and other preventative measures being implemented.
"In-cinema dining ordered from Nu Metro's VIP menu will also be served, according to the health and safety regulations in place for restaurants."
Director Christopher Nolan's Tenet will be the first major new movie scheduled for cinemas' reopening.
Nu Metro says that along with other new releases, Nu Metro will also offer a selection of recent box office hits and other audience favourites being re-released during the first phase of its reopening.
"This scheduling strategy is due to the limited availability of new filmed content for cinemas worldwide, caused by the postponement of films' release dates globally following the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic."
THE SAFETY MEASURES PUT IN PLACE
Nu Metro is encouraging moviegoers to use its numetro.co.za website for online bookings before visiting cinemas to buy tickets, and to also use the self-service terminals at cinemas to buy tickets, although the confectionary counters will be open for sales, as well as ticket counters.
Mask-wearing will be mandatory for all customers and staff within all Nu Metro's cinema complexes nationwide although masks can be taken off while eating and drinking.
Temperature checks will be done on arrival for all customers at access points to cinema complexes, in addition to hourly temperature and hygiene check-ups being done on staff by each complex's appointed compliance officer.
Nu Metro will also adhere to social distancing by introducing at least 1.5 metre of distance between booked seats by blocking 2 "buffer" seats on either side of a customer's selection.
These blocked seats will appear in a zigzag pattern throughout each auditorium. Only two customers per booking can be seated next to each other, with "buffer" seats blocked on either side, in front and behind them.
Cinema capacity is also capped at below 50 visitors, in compliance with the recommended specifications from the South African government.
Nu Metro says that all cinemas will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after each and every show, with a nightly deep-cleaning of all complexes, while all high-touch point areas such as kiosks, self-service terminals, serving counters, door handles, rails, benches, booths and bathroom areas will be disinfected on a regular basis daily – with the cleaning frequency for service counters every 30 minutes.
Popcorn seasoning shakers and dispensers have been replaced by sealed, disposable sachets, along with other precautionary measures at confectionary/catering counters.
Here are the Nu Metro cinemas opening:
Nu Metro Hyde Park (JHB) – including 4DX and VIP theatres; VIP cinema complex.
Nu Metro Emperors Palace (JHB) – including 4DX, VIP and Xtreme theatres.
Nu Metro Clearwater Mall (JHB) – including VIP and Xtreme theatres.
Nu Metro The Glen (JHB) – including VIP and Xtreme theatres.
Nu Metro Westgate (JHB).
Nu Metro Menlyn Park (Pta) – including 4DX, VIP and Xtreme theatres.
Nu Metro Woodlands (Pta) – VIP cinema complex.
Nu Metro Canal Walk (CT) – including VIP and Xtreme theatres.
Nu Metro Worcester.
Nu Metro Ballito Junction (Ballito, KZN) – including VIP and Xtreme theatres.
Nu Metro Cornubia Mall (Dbn) – including 4DX, VIP and Xtreme theatres.
Nu Metro The Pavilion (Dbn) – including 4DX and VIP theatres.
Nu Metro Galleria (Amanzimtoti, KZN) – including VIP and Xtreme theatres.
Nu Metro Boardwalk (Port Elizabeth).
Nu Metro Loch Logan (Bloemfontein).
Nu Metro Masingita Mall (Giyani, Limpopo).
Only 6 Nu Metro cinema complexes in South Africa remain temporarily closed. The Nu Metro Arcades Mall in Zambia reopened Friday 21 August, already with re-release titles, and Nu Metro Maputo in Mozambique will reopen in September.
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