cinema in a time of covid

Going to the cinema in a time of COVID

What should you expect when visiting the cinema in a time of COVID? We have the inside tips on what has changed since we last went early this year!

After eight odd months of locking ourselves away – I am more than ready to re-emerge {understatement!}. I am also suffering major choctop withdrawals, longing for the smell of popcorn and hanging for a shared experience with other humans!

While we count down the days to 12 November 2020, Palace Cinemas have been planning for this moment for months.  Melbournians are lucky (in a glass half full kinda way) – other states around Australia have been our guinea pigs, testing how the Covid safe movie-going experience works since July.

So Melbournians, who’s ready for a movie on the big screen!?

Being nervous is not unexpected.  And the decision to return back into civilisation is a very personal one.  To help alleviate any concerns I spoke with Palace Cinema’s CEO Ben Zeccola, via Zoom, about what kinds of things we can expect when movie-going post lockdown.
cinema in a time of Covid

Hey Ben, thanks so much for taking time out to chat – it must be all-consuming making sense of the different regulations around the country and interpreting them for all the different Palace venues!  What can we expect here in Melbourne when going to the cinema in a time of COVID?

When the time comes, we will be very ready to open in Melbourne – we can’t wait. We’ve tested our processes in other states and feel that our patrons feel very safe and comfortable when they visit Palace.  To ensure there are minimal crowds we have staggered start and finish times for all our films, so at any one time there are no more than 20 people passing through the foyer.  We’ve also capped our seating capacity at 20% – with seating set up like a checkerboard.

In the other states, we found people were very keen to come back to see a film on the big screen, with many sessions quickly selling out. The feedback from our Melbourne audience is no different.

What kinds of measures have you put in place to help manage our new normal?

You can expect COVID measures such as:

  • before and after each session we have extra staff rostered on to do a hard surface sanitising wipe down,
  • hand-sanitiser stations,
  • space markers on the floors to help remind everyone to stay distanced,
  • contactless payments,
  • if you haven’t booked your ticket online (which we highly recommend as it means you won’t miss out) we will be recording your contact details manually (for contact tracing purposes),
  • seating is in a checkerboard arrangement which means as a family you will be sitting together, but the seats directly in front of you and behind you and to each side of you will be empty (so, for example, a family of five has their five seats reserved, plus the 12 seats directly surrounding them),
  • start times (and their finishing times) in a staggered manner, so that rather than having crowds of people in the foyers we have a trickle of 20 people or less,
  • while we are still waiting for a vaccine, even if it’s no longer a government mandate, we will encourage patrons to wear masks – except when they are enjoying our olive oil popcorn or feature-length pours!
  • naturally, if you have any symptoms we ask you to stay home and will be happy to offer a refund or credit voucher (as long as you advise us in advance).


cinema in a time of Covid


So there you have it – going to the cinema in a time of COVID might be a little different to how it was in the past, but I suspect Melbournians are going to be busting to get to the movies – here is the link for more details about Palace Cinemas COVID plan and here is the link to BOOK TICKETS.