As the Prime Minister said on June 24, cinemas could start opening up for business again from July 4 and film fans are looking forward to catching up on the latest big screen release.
But with social distancing and safety measures still essential to protect people from coronavirus cinema companies are drawing up careful plans.
The Picturehouse group which owns the Gate cinema in Notting Hill said it will start reopening its 26 cinemas from Friday, July 10.
It will announce local opening dates over the next few weeks. And whilst it is not able yet to say exactly when doors will reopen Christopher Nolan’s new spy movie, Tenet, is confirmed fo July 31.
The Gate cinema has just one screen – when the cinema opened back 1911 it had capacity for 480 people – but this has now changed.
Whatever date it reopens film fans will see strict safety measures.
These will include social distancing throughout the Edwardian building.
Other measures include:
*There will be fewer seats so people can keep their distance
*There will be protective screens at kiosks where it is harder to get a social distance
*Enhanced cleaning during the day
*Staff will also get extra coronavirus training and PPE if the risk assessments say they are needed.
And people will be urged to use contactless rather than cash.
There won’t be a chance to stock up on popcorn or ice cream as the chain won’t be opening cafes, bars and restaurants just yet.
Meanwhile elsewhere in the borough the Portobello Film Festival is planned to go ahead in September.
Director Jonathan Barnett said the team are looking at live streaming and which venues to use.
As the festival is free it does not depend on ticket sales to fund it.
Mr Barnett said safety is of paramount importance and numbers are likely to be limited – in the same way that shops are reopening.
“We will err on the side of caution for everything,” he said.