SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Tuesday was a busy first day for Hollywood Cinemas in Surrey, with several screenings nearly selling out.
“We had a good crowd today. Very, very surprising how many people showed up,” said owner Rahim Maji.
Eager movie fans have been waiting to visit theatres again for months. The second stage of B.C.’s restart plan, which the province entered on Tuesday, allows for that to happen.
“Almost 15 months of us being closed, it was amazing to see how people’s reaction was,” Maji said, adding there was some uncertainty as to whether or not people would come out. “We had a couple people dress up as Cruella and come out. It was really cool to see what the community did for us.”
He says staff are ensuring social distancing requirements are being followed at each viewing, and are keeping contact between themselves and customers to a minimum. Hollywood Cinemas is readying for even more of a rush on the weekend, noting many people have already pre-booked their tickets.
However, while he appreciates the support Hollywood Cinemas has received, Maji notes it may not be enough to keep all independent theatres in B.C. afloat.
“It is a long road to recovery,” he said, talking about restrictions facilities still need to abide by. “It’s still not profitable, especially for independent movie theatres. If it continues like this for more months, I don’t think a lot of independent movie theatres will survive.”
As part of the second step in B.C.’s restart plan, up to 50 people are allowed for seated, indoor, organized gatherings, such as at banquet halls and movie theatres.
Increased capacity for indoor and outdoor organized gatherings, with safety protocols, is included in step three of the plan, which could happen as early as July 1.
The province is targeting the beginning of September, at the earliest, for a return to near-normal life.