Filmgoers must wait a little longer
By Barrie Hudson - 2 July 2020
CommunityArts and Culture
Cineworld has postponed the reopening of its cinemas by three weeks until Friday, 31 July.
Changed release schedules are behind the delay
Less than a fortnight ago the chain, which has branches at Swindon's Shaw Ridge and Regent Circus, announced nationwide reopening for Friday, 10 July.
The change of plan has been driven by the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on release schedules.
In a statement announcing its decision, the chain said: "In line with recent changes to upcoming film release dates, we are planning to re-open on 31 July.
"We hope that we will be able to reopen the doors of all Cineworld Cinemas across the UK and Ireland at that time, however upcoming re-openings remain subject to final clarifications and confirmation in relation to various government COVID-19 restrictions.
"We will announce on social media once tickets go on sale (and by email to our members opted in to marketing communications), which will be closer to our re-opening date."
The cinema chain promises a raft of safety measures for returning moviegoers.
Social distancing will be in place throughout cinema buildings and hand sanitiser stations will be provided for customers and staff.
All employee and customer toilets will be stocked with anti-bacterial hand soap, and staff will be trained in stringent hand washing guidelines to supplement the firm's current personal hygiene policy.
There will also be an enhanced cleaning programme.
Tickets will be available to book in advance on the website and via the Cineworld app, which is available on IOS and Android. Confirmation emails can be used as tickets, and e-tickets are available on the app.
The booking system has been updated to allow friends and family to sit together while ensuring a safe distance between customers from different households. This will vary according to the capacity and layout of each screen.
Film starting and ending times will be staggered to minimise customers crossing paths entering and exiting, and there will be extra cleaning time between films.
Plastic screens will be placed in concession areas where social distancing may be difficult, and tills will accept contactless card payments up to a value of £45 and limitless Apple Pay/Google Pay mobile payments.
Cineworld promises that trained staff will be on hand to help customers.
Empire Cinemas, which has a branch at Greenbridge, has yet to announce a reopening date.