Cinemas the forgotten victim in Melbourne’s reopening

As most of Melbourne reopens today, spare a thought for Victoria’s cinema industry, which has curiously been left out of the State Government’s reopening plans:

“To not allow us to reopen when we have the ability to do so safely, with COVID-Safe numbers and protocols in place, is just pernicious,” Palace Cinemas chief executive officer Benjamin Zeccola said. “I am furious and depressed”…

“The past few months have been very difficult for our staff, and the latest announcements have left many of us feeling very let down,” he said. “The lack of clarity and consistent exclusion from re-opening decisions has placed unnecessary stress on the thousands of young Australian part-time and casual workers that cinema employs”…

A spokesperson for Creative Industries Minister Danny Pearson, said: “The roadmaps for both regional Victoria and metro Melbourne state that indoor entertainment venues (including cinemas, performing arts venues and music venues) will be permitted to open in the last step (triggered when there have been zero new cases in the community for more than 14 days) with patron caps in place”…

The zero infections for 14-days target is, industry figures believe, an unreasonably high hurdle that is disproportionate to risk.

Kristian Connelly, chief executive of Cinema Nova, said cinemas offered one of the most controlled environments for people to socialise in. “A comprehensive Covid-19 Safe plan in the cinema offers socially distanced allocated seating, capacity limitations, constant cleaning, online contact-tracing ticketing, cashless payment, staff temperature checks, mandatory masks (on staff and customers) and hand sanitisers],” he said…

Recent research published in open source science journal Environment International and cited by the industry suggests an infected person is 90 times more likely to infect someone else while singing in church (which is now permitted) than they are while sitting in silence in a cinema. A restaurant patron conversing lightly is 14 times more likely, and a gym patron exercising heavily poses seven times the risk of a silent cinema patron.

“Across the globe, no confirmed case of the virus has been traced back to cinema-going and as of today, in Australia, no confirmed case has been linked to cinema-going within other states that have been operational since late June 2020,” Mr Munari said.

The continued closure of cinemas in Victoria just highlights how arbitrary and illogical the restrictions in place in Victoria are.

Why are cinemas precluded from opening in a limited “COVID-Safe” manner when:

  • 20 people are allowed to sing indoors in churches;
  • Gyms can reopen on 8 November;
  • Thousands are allowed into indoor common areas of shopping centres like Chadstone;
  • The list goes on.

Movie cinemas are currently open in NSW, which has similar COVID-19 infection rates to Victoria:

Many Victorian cinemas will go under unless the Andrews Government changes track.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. The most obvious exclusion is churches i would have thought. You dont have to take the mask off to eat or drink, and a typical congregation is a group of people who know each other well so easier to contact trace. And easy to put social distancing in place.

  2. Plus they are releasing movies direct to streaming.

    Watched Borat Subsequent Moviefilm last night on Amazon Prime for free. Crazy.

    • Given you’re required to sit in silence, comedies would be banned for some time — good ones, at least. 😉

    • boomengineeringMEMBER

      Unhealthy ???
      Well I’m really pssed off atm.
      Used my last hot vulcanizing tyre repair patch this morn on a steam pressure cleaner tyre tube. Can’t get them anymore, even in USA as the gov’t deemed them unhealthy due to the smoke.
      IDIOT’s, easy to use and far superior to any glue on available today.
      Hope to come across some old timer’s sell off.
      Now back to searching.
      The missus said, why bother just buy a new tube. Now how long do you think that would take to find an unusual small diam large cross section size inner tube?

  3. MB readerMEMBER

    Cinemas are open in Sydney but there are not many people going to them. I suspect a few will close their doors. The thought of relying on Netflix and others like it doesn’t excite me.

    • I’m going to a friend’s 50th birthday tomorrow night which is a private showing (with booze and food) for about 40 people at the local theatre. I think it is a James Bond movie (they couldn’t get Star Wars).

  4. Mark HeydonMEMBER

    Convert to “church of the blessed film” and open up for 5 daily worship sessions?

    Seriously though, boo hoo for cinemas. Box office for 2019 (per was only $1.229bn. A very large proportion of that would find its way into US entertainment corporations and hugely overpaid actors. There are also myriad other ways for consumers to access the product. Really finding it hard to care about this one.

    • Reminds me of the US joke. 5 allowed for thanksgiving and 30 for funerals – please come to the funeral of my pet turkey on 26 november!

      got to be some loop holes for creative thinkers – I thought thats what the arts sector was all about!

  5. sydboy007MEMBER

    TBH I’m not sure how many will want to be in a cinema with the fear porn still being pumped out by the MSM.

    I doubt any parents is going to be keep to take a young child to see a Disney movie when they have to worry all the time about just what the kid is touching and putting in their mouth.

    Maybe they need to have single use shair coverings??

  6. Iron HorseMEMBER

    It’s so ironic. We went to the Port Adelaide vs. Richmond prelim final in Adelaide a few weeks ago and the restaurant we were planning to eat at was shut so we went to a McDonalds in the city. We were there for about a half hour and in that time no one cleaned any of the touch screens everyone orders from and no one cleaned any of the benches/tables where you eat!
    And there was only one bottle of sanitizer on the bench where you collect your order from ie: after the touch screens – CRAZY!