South Africa’s national COVID-19 lockdown has a severe impact on many industries, including local cinemas.
Nu Metro began implementing social distancing restrictions at their venues before the lockdown was announced, and were forced to close their local cinema complexes after it was implemented.
These venues have remained closed since the end of March and will only reopen when the COVID-19 alert level is lowered to a point where the regulations allow cinemas to resume operations.
MyBroadband asked Nu Metro for comment on whether any of their South African cinemas would close down due to the national lockdown.
Nu Metro confirmed that none of its cinemas will close down and it has not needed to implement any staff cuts.
It added that once cinemas are allowed to reopen, it will resume operations with the same measures it had in place before the lockdown.
“Nothing can ever replace the big screen”
Nu Metro marketing and content executive Chantelle Burrows said that cinema offers “an escape from reality with the magic of the movies”.
“The day will come when all movie fans can again join in the shared entertainment experience of watching the world’s latest and greatest films on the Big Screen.”
“Nothing can ever replace or substitute the joy of watching a movie in a cinema, with popcorn, drinks, sweets, movie fun, big sound and prime quality visuals on the best screens, and all the other treats which make going to the movies such a social special outing for people of all ages,” Burrows said.
She added that while Nu Metro’s cinemas and offices remain closed, its staff have been working to prepare for the reopening of its complexes.
Nu Metro has been inundated with messages on its social media platforms from customers who are excited for cinemas to open again, she added.
“When we are allowed to return, Nu Metro remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of everyone craving to again experience the power of the silver screen in our cinemas.”
Effect on business
Nu Metro said that it has been closely following directives from the South African government and the World Health Organisation.
“In terms of business impact, the negative effects of the pandemic on the cinema industry started surfacing when more and more of the major blockbuster movies’ release dates started shifting since the beginning of March,” Nu Metro said.
“The direct impact locally was felt when the government imposed restrictions on public venues just before the hard lockdown was announced.”
The cinema chain said that attendance decreased and customers grew wary of going out in public.
Nu Metro also implemented a social distancing policy within its cinemas, which it said had a negative impact on the number of customers it could serve.
“We look forward to reopening our cinemas in the very near future and are ready to implement the same health and safety precautions that were introduced at all Nu Metro cinemas just before the lockdown,” Nu Metro said.
“At this stage, we are guided by governmental regulations and other relevant expert advice in this regard.”