COVID-19: unjustified closures for cinemas?
Since December 20, cinemas have been facing a new closure due to the tightening of sanitary measures.
While cinemas have been facing a new closure of theaters since December 20 due to the tightening of sanitary measures, some owners of dark rooms are indignant at the situation, and denounce unjustified closures.
For the general manager of the cinema Beaubien, Mario Fortin, the hope of reopening its doors is great, but he says he is “in the fog” in the face of the current situation.
“We are waiting to see what's going to happen, it's time for it to stop,” he says.
He hopes the majority of his employees – mostly students – will return to work once the restrictions are lifted.
“We put everyone out of work on December 20 and we hope that everyone will come back,” he adds.
As for the clientele, the director of the Beaubien cinema has some apprehensions about the reopening.
“If we present good films, people will come back, but it depends on the conditions”, explains Mario Fortin.
He fears opening cinemas by gauge, which would prevent him from welcoming his customers at full capacity.
Closing without notice
The sudden announcement of the closing of cinemas last December “caught Mario Fortin by surprise”, who felt “disillusioned”.
“We were closed with four hours' notice , he explains. We didn't have time to react.”
The director of this legendary cinema in Rosemont still remains hopeful, although he regrets paying the price “because of a few fools”.
Closing cinemas had nothing to do with public health recommendations. It was more a question of image and appearance to show that the government was acting.
Vincenzo Guzzo, CEO of Cinemas Guzzo
“A total inconsistency”
For Vincenzo Guzzo, CEO of cinemas of the same name, the closure of dark rooms demonstrates “ inconsistencies” in terms of health restrictions.
“We are a little tired and frustrated. We asked Public Health to show us if there had been outbreaks in cinemas to justify all this. They keep telling us that there hasn't been any.”
According to the entrepreneur, cinemas would be able to welcome the public while respecting the measures related to COVID- 19.
“Most movie theaters have much better ventilation systems than our hospitals and schools. The latter are also where there are the most outbreaks, and they have just reopened. Why are cinemas closed? There is abuse on the part of the government.”
Asked about a possible traffic jam at his resorts, Mr. Guzzo says a safe reopening is possible.
“When we dropped to 50% capacity in 2021, we gave less choice of films and more choice in terms of screenings to avoid these traffic jams,” explains the businessman, while recalling that the usual attendance in cinemas is “around 50%”.
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Going to the movies was one of the only pleasures where there was social distancing, even before the expression became fashionable.
Vincenzo Guzzo, CEO of Guzzo Cinemas
Vincenzo Guzzo also declares that the government has demonstrated “a total lack of understanding” towards the mental health of Quebecers. He claims that he will soon take legal action against him, in order to demand the reopening of all businesses.
According to figures dated December 14 obtained by the daily Le  ;Duty, only one outbreak was reported among attendees of an “arts, culture or entertainment” activity in Montreal.
On December 21, active outbreaks in primary schools in the metropolis numbered 126.
At the time of writing this article, the Ministry of Health and Social Services had not responded to questions from the editorial staff.
With the collaboration of Quentin Dufranne.