UK Cinema Fans: Masks in Theaters Are Now Mandatory

The UK Cinema Association (UKCA) has been busy lately trying to get all the UK cinema fans back in theaters. At first, UKCA published their coronavirus preventive measures in early July. Problem is it didn’t seem they were preventing much because masks were optional for patrons.

Sure, staff had to wear them but who cares about all the folk in their seats hacking all over their popcorn and soda (or beer, if that’s your fancy). The UK cinema fans who enjoy the major theater chains such as Odeon, Showcase, and the region’s largest Cineworld, have been getting an earful from the hired help.

Because Cineworld Cares…

Upon hearing the news that UK cinema fans could leave the Darth Vader mask at home, Cineworld workers petitioned the company’s CEO. They do it differently in the UK because even the petition stressing life and death sounds formal:

We propose that customers are required to wear a mask/face covering to enter Cineworld sites, and should at least have to wear them in high traffic areas (corridors/foyers/concessions), where the most contact is likely to occur. These restrictions can be eased in the auditoriums where social distancing can be maintained throughout the duration of a film

Cineworld Workers’ Petition via Variety

What Changed for UK Cinema?

UK cinema fans now have to wear masks in theaters -- a month after employees petitioned
Source: PA File/Chronicle Live

Entertainment has been pummeled worldwide by this damn disease. UK cinema fans, much like their mates in the states, haven’t seen the inside of a theater since March. According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the country has recorded more than 305,000 cases of COVID-19, with 42,647 deaths. Nonetheless, it’s time to talk business because “infections are falling, the NHS is restoring, and the virus is in retreat.”

Good times, right? Not so much thanks to UK cinema houses questioning the enforcement of spit guards from the patrons.

Following the actions of the public fighting side-by-side with UK cinema staff, face masks are now mandatory in all theaters, as well as museums, galleries, and houses of worship, according to another story by Variety.

For those not in the know about international politics (or local, depending on where you’re reading this), the guy with the Howdy Doody haircut is UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. While he’s not much on looking en vogue, the guy knows how to take a stand.

“We must be willing to react to the first sign of trouble. I won’t stand by and allow this virus threat to cause more pain and heartache. We should now squeeze that brake pedal to keep the virus under control.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

While the good news for UK cinema fans and staff is masks are mandatory, the bad news is the delay continues. Cinema houses were scheduled to open on August 1, but now, it will be at least two weeks later.

It is disappointing that socially-distanced indoor performances will not be able to go ahead tomorrow. However in reality, the majority of theaters were not planning to reopen for shows tomorrow so a two-week delay will not make a huge difference. Most theaters will not be able to put on productions until we reach Stage 5, which allows fuller audiences, so that is the most critical date for much of the sector

Jon Morgan, Director of Theaters Trust via Variety

The moral of the story is this: If people come first, profits will follow. Unfortunately, during this pandemic, we are seeing what businesses consider important. For those who have the pleasure to enjoy the movie experience in the UK, it seems you are in good hands.

Now, go wear your damn mask and see ya’ at the movies!

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