Monday, September 27

Cinemas without soda or popcorn for Christmas and in the red

Popcorn machines are empty in cinemas, which since November cannot sell drinks to the public.  |  MANUEL R. SALA

Popcorn machines are empty in cinemas, which since November cannot sell drinks to the public. | MANUEL R. SALA

The rooms who they live their worst year. Al orderly closure between March and June it was added later the shortage of premieres with which to go back in summer and now the pextension of the last sanitary restrictions until January 15, decreed last Saturday by the Generalitat, which means that they must continue with a capacity of 50% and without being able to sell drinks and food for the prohibition of its consumption indoors.

The soda and popcorn service accounts for almost half of the sales profits of cinemas, indicates Javier Caparrós, manager of the Kinépolis cinemas in Alicante, who speaks on behalf of the rest of the local cinemas, concerned with this restriction that has been applied since November began. With the pandemic, cinemas have been billing only 20% of usual income under normal circumstances, but in November it barely reached 10%.

«If fewer people come in this situation, now many customers stop going straight away if they can’t even drink water, because popcorn and drinking are intrinsic to cinema“Says Caparrós, who recalls that no contagion by coronavirus has been recorded in cinemas since its opening,” according to the Ministry of Health’s own data, neither in Spain nor in Europe.

An employee in a theater of the Aana de Sant Joan cinemas. | MANUEL R. SALA

The decision has greatly annoyed exhibitors, who hoped to recoup part of the losses “just now that powerful premieres arrive – after months of braking from the US majors – such as Wonder Woman on the 18th, Croods 2 on the 23rd or the Spanish It snows in Benidorm, Hasta el Cielo and Mom or Dad, and taking into account that the family audience increases at Christmas parties. But this rule will prevent us from being in the red, “they lament.

Those responsible for the cinemas emphasize that «the security of the cinemas has been shown with the reduced capacity 50% and the excellent ventilation systems, which provide a ventilation flow per person of 12 liters per second and we renew the air one hundred times more than normal respiration, ”says Caparrós. On this issue, the Ministry of Health has promised “to technically review the facilities to check ventilation,” according to Caparrós from the meeting held yesterday with his Valencian counterparts, with whom they are studying to jointly file an administrative appeal if the restriction is not lifted .

Cinemas also protest against “comparative grievance” against other sectors, such as hostelry or even nightlife, that “in much smaller spaces their customers can eat and drink” and consider the ban on cinemas “incomprehensible.”

The Alicante halls have met with the mayor of Culture Antonio Manresa, who showed his support and will take an institutional declaration to the next plenary session on the 17th for the Generalitat to lift said prohibition.

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