12:02 PM PST 2/22/2021 by Etan Vlessing
Quebec has given the green light to movie theaters in the French speaking province reopening on Friday, in time for spring break by students and their families.
But as a safety protocol amid the pandemic, movie theaters will not be able to sell food and drinks after the Feb. 26 reopening as cinema-goers will need to wear a mask throughout a film screening. And movie auditoriums in the province will have to operate at 50 percent of capacity.
"Public Health is telling us that, if you want people to keep their masks during the movie, of course, you cannot sell popcorn," Quebec premiere Francois Legault told reporters on Friday in Quebec City during a press conference. Cineplex said it will follow the latest government-imposed safety and health precautions to reopen as a second wave of COVID-19 infections fades in Quebec.
"Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees and guests so while our doors will reopen this week without our famous popcorn for sale, as directed by the province, we know that it would be safe to serve and consume if that were not the case. Movies and popcorn go hand-in-hand and we look forward to the day that our guests can have the complete movie-going experience that we’ve all been missing.” Daniel Séguin, senior vp of operations at Cineplex, said in a statement.
As it reopens in 16 locations province-wide, Cineplex will screen local language and Hollywood movies like De Gaulle, La Déesse des mouches à feu, Wonder Woman 1984, The Croods: A New Age, Promising Young Woman, Land and Judas and The Black Messiah.
Canadian theater operators are hoping that a rollout of COVID-19 vaccines nationwide may allow moviegoing to return to some normalcy by late summer 2021.