- Cinemas in Quebec have been closed, while venues throughout the country have been reduced to 50% capacity.
- A new wave of movie theatre closures and restrictions has swept Canada’s entertainment industry as the country grapples with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the highly infectious omicron variant.
Despite a busy holiday season, cinemas in Quebec have closed. In contrast, regulating provinces elsewhere in Canada have chosen to keep movie theatres open, but with tightened restrictions on mask-wearing and food and drink consumption.
The move comes on the heels of Canadian provinces reimposing seating capacity limits for large venues, such as those hosting movies, concerts, and sporting events.
Cinema Guzzo has closed all of its theatres in French-speaking Quebec as of December 20 at the provincial government’s request.
“As is customary, we are closely monitoring the situation and will make any necessary adjustments based on requests from the authorities.” “Our top priority will persist to be the health of our employees and the general public,” the exhibitor said in a statement.
Cinemagoers in Toronto, the country’s largest media market, will continue to wear masks in theatres but will no longer be able to eat popcorn or drink beverages as the Ontario government implements new measures to combat the spread of the unknown, heavily mutating coronavirus variant. On December 23, Ontario reported a pandemic high of 5,790 new COVID-19 cases.
Cineplex, the country’s largest exhibitor, has closed 19 theatres in Quebec and Newfoundland to slow the spread of the omicron variant. Only Saskatchewan does not have capacity restrictions that affect movie theatre chains.
As of December 23, Cineplex operated 141 theatres in the rest of Canada. In Ontario, Cineplex has had to reduce seating by half in its theaters, except locations in regional markets such as Kingston, Sault Ste Marie, Ottawa, Belleville, and Sudbury, where additional public health directives are in place.
The reintroduction of capacity restrictions comes after a resurgence in box office for Hollywood tentpoles such as No Time to Die, Dune, and Sony’s Tom Holland starrer Spider-Man: No Way Home, which hit theatres in mid-December.
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