- As South Africa makes a move back to adjusted Level 3 lockdown, cinemas, theatres, galleries and more entertainment venues are allowed to reopen.
- The news is a great relief for South Africa's theatre and cinema industries which have been decimated by lockdown regulations.
- Cinema chains like Cine Centre, Nu Metro and Ster-Kinekor are struggling immensely, with Ster-Kinekor entering voluntary business rescue at the beginning of 2021.
Cinemas, theatres, galleries, museums, libraries, archives and casinos in South Africa are allowed to open again from Monday as the country moves to adjusted Level 3 lockdown.
Venues will, however, be limited to 50% capacity and must close at 21:00 so workers and customers can be home at 22:00 when the curfew kicks in.
The latest regulations were published on Sunday night after president Cyril Ramaphosa announced a move back from adjusted Level 4.
Under the Level 3 laws, spectators at sporting events remain a no-no, while nightclubs also remain closed.
Public swimming pools, beaches and public parks, game parks, botanical gardens, aquariums and zoos, gyms and fitness centres can open.
Restaurants, bars, shebeens and taverns are allowed to open their doors but are "subject to a limitation of a maximum of 50 persons or less for indoor venues or 100 persons outdoors observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other".
If the venue cannot hold 50 people with adequate social distancing, it should only function at 50% of its normal capacity.
South Africa's theatre and cinema industries have been decimated by the lockdown regulations, resulting in temporary and permanent closure and thousands of people who have lost jobs.
After just a few months of being allowed to operate again, trying to lure back wary patrons with spaced-seating, packaged popcorn, rigorous cleaning, disinfecting protocols and even opting for cashless transactions, cinemas were once more forced to shut down the projectors and close their doors in late June.
Earlier this month, Ster-Kinekor implored the South African government to allow cinemas to reopen, saying that the move to Level 4 would result in "a devastating blow" to the industry.
In 2020 South Africa's total box office revenue at cinemas plunged by a massive R1.2 billion to a measly R214 million - the lowest in over a decade - according to a recent industry report.
Cinema chains like Cine Centre, Nu Metro and Ster-Kinekor are struggling immensely, with Ster-Kinekor entering voluntary business rescue at the beginning of 2021.
Nu Metro reopening
Chantelle Burrows, Nu Metro cinemas marketing and content executive, told Channel24 on Monday morning that Nu Metro cinemas will reopen from Friday, 30 July.
"This reopening also includes Nu Metro's specialised cinema formats: 4DX, VIP and Xtreme. We will initially be trading Fridays to Sundays and on public holidays only - in line with our responsible trading strategy under Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
"Some of the blockbuster movies, which will be showing in our cinemas from Friday include Space Jam: A New Legacy, featuring NBA superstar LeBron James and the Looney Tunes crew of iconic cartoon characters in a family movie adventure, as well as Fast & Furious 9: The Fast Saga, after this blockbuster's record-breaking run at the box office was cut short at the end of June.
"Nu Metro joins the local industry in celebrating the return of the unique, shared out-of-home entertainment experience that only cinemas can bring," says Chantelle.
"Cinemas remain one of the safest spaces to be in, with extensive precautionary protocols in place to halt the spread of Covid-19, even exceeding governmental requirements. All our cinemas are sanitised after every show, social distancing and access controls are strictly managed, and all guests are seated facing in one direction inside auditoria, with minimal interaction between cinemagoers.
"Advanced HVAC ventilation systems, fitting universal health and safety requirements, are also installed in cinemas. We look forward to welcoming cinemagoers this weekend with a great line-up of the best big-screen entertainment for young and old."