Popcorn and chill - Palace Cinemas reopen Wednesday, Box Office opens today
Moviegoers are already inhaling the smell of freshly made popcorn as news that their enforced cinema hiatus is coming to an end. After being padlocked for close to four months, Palace Amusement cinemas will reopen to the public on Wednesday. The movies Bad Boys, Blood Shot, My Spy, I Still Believe, and Onward are all on the cards as Palace gets ready to fling open their curtains.
And there’s more good news for movie buffs. The Box Office opens today. Palace, which owns and operates Carib 5 and Palace Cineplex in Kingston, Sunshine Palace in Portmore, and Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay, closed its doors on March 14. A note to patrons said, “In light of COVID-19 and the recommendations issued by Prime Minister Holness, we are taking all precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our valued patrons, our staff, and the wider community. Following the Government’s discouragement of public gatherings and understanding the risk that this creates for the transmission of the virus, we made a decision to close all our cinemas as of today.”
Last week, the Government gave the go-ahead for cinemas, playhouses, and theatres to reopen on July 5 but set a limit of no more than 60 per cent of seating capacity. Under the new guidelines, it was stipulated that a one-way traffic in-and-out system should be implemented, where possible, and at least two rows must be left empty to facilitate the movement of individuals across the venue. Cinemas must also close no later than one hour before the designated 11 p.m. curfew.
Palace has subsequently issued advice on their new protocols. “For your safety, social distancing and the necessary safety measures will be observed. Patrons will be required to wear masks and temperature checks will be done upon entry,” the company stated. A maximum of four persons from the same household will be able to sit together as a group. Individual patrons or groups will be separated by a gap of two seats.
According to Marketing Manager Melanie Graham, “The company welcomes the opportunity to reopen its doors after a painful but necessary three-and-a-half-month lockdown and is ready with a new operational model designed for the safety of its valued patrons and staff alike.”
In preparation for reopening, Palace Amusement said it organised intensive retraining for front-line cinema staff to ensure that they are properly equipped to handle the new normal in the COVID-19 era. All Palace staff will all be outfitted with masks and servers at the concession will be appropriately gloved.
Palace says that sanitisation stations will be set up at convenient points throughout the cinemas, and cleaning and sanitisation will be ramped up between shows to ensure a safe and relaxed atmosphere for all.