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Christmas Day movie tradition on pause during pandemic in B.C.

Last Updated Dec 25, 2020 at 2:23 pm PST

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COVID-19 restrictions in B.C. are breaking some holidays traditions this year

There won't be any Christmas day movies this year with theatres forced to close until at least Jan. 8

CEO of Landmark Cinemas says Christmas and Boxing Day are some of the busiest days of the year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Some Christmas traditions have been broken this year as COVID-19 restrictions keep movie theatres closed in B.C.

Provincial health orders have forced theatre doors to close this year, so there won’t be any bustling cinemas on Christmas or Boxing Day.

Bill Walker, CEO of Landmark Cinemas, says those are two of their busiest days of the year — whether it’s families wanting to spend time together or some of the many people who don’t celebrate the holidays looking for something to do.

“We’re two-times to three-times as busy, especially on Boxing Day. We run a very full schedule,” he says.

RELATED: Owner of Vancouer’s Rio Theatre ‘blindsided’ by COVID-19 health orders

Without movies playing, Walker says all of the part-time staff had to be laid off.

He takes issue with the closures of theatres in the province and questions if it was the most effective move.

“We have not been implicated at all in any thoughts of transmission, or fear or suspicion,” he says.

While the restrictions were implemented in order to stop the high rates of transmissions, it caught another local theatre off guard.

Vancouver’s Rio Theatre has launched a petition calling for its own re-opening under the health restrictions.

Corinne Lea, the owner and operator of the Rio, has said movie theatres shouldn’t be in the “event” category in the health order. Instead, she says they should be treated like a bar or restaurant.

For now, all of Landmark’s theatres in B.C. and Alberta are closed, although some are still open in Saskatchewan.

Walker says he hopes big screens will be allowed to reopen in the new year.

-with files from Jonathan Szekeres