It's Showtime! Ontario and Manitoba cinemas flicker back to life as reopening expands

·1 min read

TORONTO — Ontario and Manitoba are headed back to the movies.

Both provinces are moving forward with the latest step in reopening plans, allowing their cinemas to screen a fresh slate of films for the first time in months.

Movie theatres in Ontario can resume business today, while Manitoba gets the go-ahead tomorrow. With the latest reopenings, cinemas across the country will be operating this weekend.

However, the rules vary by region. Ontario moviegoers are required to wear face masks, while auditoriums are capped at 50 per cent capacity and cannot exceed 1,000 people within an entire multiplex.

Manitoba cinemas must also maintain 50 per cent capacity and require moviegoers to show proof of vaccination alongside their ticket.

British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, do not require masks inside cinemas, while distancing rules vary across the country.

Canada's largest exhibitor Cineplex Inc. and its smaller competitors are hoping to draw on pent-up demand with a slate of major Hollywood titles, including "Space Jam: A New Legacy," "Black Widow" and "F9," the latest entry in the "Fast & Furious" franchise.

Theatres in Ontario have been closed longer than anywhere else in North America, with locations in the Greater Toronto Area shuttered for nine months.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 16, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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