Saturday 15 August, 2020

Palace cinemas to operate at 60% capacity under COVID-19

Palace Amusement Company has announced that it will reopen its cinemas on Wednesday, July 8, following over three months of closure as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The cinemas will operate at 60 per cent capacity.

Additionally, Palace Amusement said it will continue to make the best effort to keep patrons entertained despite uncertainty around the schedule film releases, due to the second phase of lockdown in the US.

Palace operates four theatres in Jamaica - Carib 5 and Palace Cineplex in Kingston, Sunshine Palace in Portmore and Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay.

It has been granted a provisional 14-day period to resume operations by the Government of Jamaica, with mandatory health requirements to mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus.

“The company welcomes the opportunity to reopen its doors after a painful but necessary three and a half months lockdown, and is ready with a new operational model designed for the safety of its valued patrons and staff alike,” said Marketing Manager, Melanie Graham, in a notice via the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).

Patrons will be required to wear masks and observe social distancing in queues at the box office and concession stations.

A maximum of four persons from the same household will be able to sit together as a group, the company said, adding that individual patrons or groups, will be separated by a gap of two seats, among other safety measures as stipulated by the authorities.

“Sanitisation stations will be set up at convenient points throughout the cinemas and cleaning and sanitisation will be ramped up between shows to ensure a safe and relaxed atmosphere for all,” it was noted.

Palace Amusement said it has put its frontline staff through intensive retraining to ensure that they are aware of their roles and are fully equipped to function under the new norm.

Staff will all be outfitted with masks and servers at the concession will be appropriately gloved.

“Going forward, the company will remain in consultation and partnership with the authorities in its bid to be proactive and maintain guidelines, as the country and businesses navigate the path ahead,” the notice said.

Information disclosed by the company via the JSE revealed that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the operations and performance.

“Closure of the cinemas has resulted in significant losses over the last three and a half months. Meanwhile, we have had substantial standing charges to maintain.”

As a result, Palace Amusement has obtained interim financing from its bankers to help meet some of our financial obligations.

All cinema staff, totalling almost 300 persons, were laid off during the closure period.

“It is our intention to bring back as many of our cinema staff as possible once we are able to commence operations,” it was noted.

The company also said it had been contemplating the possibility of offering a drive-in cinema experience to patrons.

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