Written by: Keith Tully
Cinemas chains are concerned that government plans to implement ‘vaccine passport’ policies will hinder their recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.
Operators of cinemas have been badly affected by the pandemic but optimism is growing that they will soon be able to reopen and attract strong demand from customers when they do.
Cinemas are not allowed to reopen in the UK until May 17 at the earliest but there is thought to be no shortage of demand for opportunities to return to local theatres once they can accommodate customers again in person.
That optimism is being supported by the strong sales figures achieved recently by the new film Godzilla Vs Kong, which was released at cinemas in the US over the Easter weekend and delivered what is being described as a new Covid-era box office record.
However, the sense that cinema chains will do well once they can reopen is being tempered somewhat by concerns around government plans for people to need something like a vaccine passport or certificate before they’re allowed entry to certain public spaces.
Speaking to the Telegraph recently, the chief executive of the cinema chain Vue Tim Richards said: “The issue with Covid passports is that it is creating different tiers of society.
“There are a lot of conscious objectors, or people with medical conditions and there are younger people who have simply not had the opportunity for a vaccination yet.”
Mr Richards also pointed out that younger audiences and children are important demographics for cinema chains and any policies that preclude them from visiting could be damaging for an industry desperately in need of every opportunity to recover and make money.
Major cinema chains in many different parts of the world, including in the UK, have been suffering severe losses and been forced to make dramatic cost savings to survive since the pandemic began.
Representatives of other industries to which ‘Covid passport’ policies could soon become highly relevant have also expressed concerns about what the likely impacts of such an approach will be.
“The positive news from the roadmap has been overshadowed by the potential impact of Covid status certificates being implemented by the government,” said Michael Kill, the chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association.
He added that “the overwhelming majority” of operators within the UK’s nightlife sector believe any such policies will have a detrimental impact on their trade.
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