The Quebec Cinema Revival Committee wants cinemas across the province to reopen by June. On April 30, a dozen cinema owners and professional associations came together to develop a reopening plan that they hope will be validated by the province's public health authorities. Focusing on "operations and hygiene, programming and promotion," the committee says that Quebec movie theatres can reopen in "complete safety."
"The common objective of the committee members is to ensure that Quebecers can have access to a cultural outing in complete safety," said Éric Bouchard, president of the Corporation of Cinemas of Quebec.
"We are confident that we will be able to reopen movie theatres while respecting strict social distancing and hygiene measures while offering moviegoers an interesting program that will particularly showcase our local films."
Cinema owners say that even before confinement measures were put into place, cinemas across the province were easily able to operate at 50% capacity and enforce social distancing.
"We can, therefore, assure the public that we will be ready to reopen our doors and that everyone's health will remain our priority," said Bouchard.
If theatres will be reopened in June, cinema owners are prepared to adjust their programming to better reflect the limited availability of new movies.
"The screening of classic and popular Quebec films as well as those presented earlier this year, but which could not benefit from the greatest visibility with the arrival of the pandemic, is envisaged," says the committee.
Cinemas were among the first businesses in Quebec that began to close in mid-March in accordance with the province's ban on public gatherings.
Whether or not cinemas will reopen remains to be seen but in Montreal, the province has already pushed back deconfinement measures by one week.
The committee says that cinemas are essential to the cultural fabric of Quebec society but with no reopening dates announced for the cinema industry, the public will need to be patient.
“More than ever, a collaboration between governments and all the actors of the cinema ecosystem in Quebec is essential to ensure that we get through the unprecedented crisis we are experiencing," said Denis Hurtubise, president of the Association of Quebec Cinema Owners.
"By being proactive and combining our efforts so that our films can be widely screened in theatres in all regions of the province, it is the entire population as well as industry players who will come out on top," said Hurtubise.
Stay tuned for more news.