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…
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.