Only a “small minority” of cinemas in Wales will be able to reopen next week under current restrictions, according to an industry trade body.
Confirmation is expected on Friday that cinemas can reopen from 17 May.
But the UK Cinema Association said regulations were different in Wales to the other nations, with venues following the same, stricter rules as indoor hospitality.
The Welsh government said cinemas would open “when safe to do so”.
Phil Clapp, chief executive of the association which represents 90% of the industry including big cinema chains, said because many cinemas were licensed for the sale of alcohol it meant Welsh officials had “lumped them in” with pubs and restaurants.
He said the rules in Wales differed to England and Scotland in three ways.
Under Welsh government guidelines the following rules will apply to cinemas:
- Customers will have to be seated while ordering and buying food and drink
- Even if customers use the QR code system to “check in” and register their details, they will still have to be collected by the venue
- The venue is also expected to verify details by asking people for photo ID, for example a passport or driving licence
- The time customers leave the cinema will also have to be recorded
Mr Clapp said the rules were “impractical and unnecessary”.
“So even if a customer just walks up to a concession stand to buy a tub of popcorn, they have to be seated,” he said.
“For many of the smaller venues there simply isn’t the space for that kind of seating.
“And it will cause queuing and all manner of problems which we presume these restrictions are intended to avoid.”…
Main image: empty cinema photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash