As the Czech Republic emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown restrictions are slowly being eased. Shops and outdoor dining establishments have now reopened, and from May 24, cinemas will be allowed to open their doors for the first time since last October.
Under the latest round of restriction-lifting, announced by government officials yesterday, cultural venues including cinemas will be permitted to reopen from May 24 under strict sanitary and social distancing conditions. A maximum of 500 guests or 50% of venue capacity will be allowed to enter (whichever is lower), and all guests must wear a respirator.
Cinemagoers must also be able prove their Covid-19 status, through a negative test no older than three days, proof of vaccination, or evidence of Covid-19 recovery in the past 90 days. Cinemas may not be forced to check for this documentation, however; for outdoor restaurants that are currently open, guests only need to be able to provide proof to police or health officials during possible inspections.
As dining establishments have not yet been allowed to reopen indoor areas, cinemas will also not yet be able to sell refreshments. This restriction is likely to be eased sometime in June should epidemic trends continue.
But don’t expect all Prague cinemas to reopen from next Monday.
Cinestar, which operates two Prague multiplexes, has already confirmed that they will wait until they are allowed to sell refreshments before reopening; Cinema City and Premiere Cinemas, which operate Prague’s other multiplexes, are likely to follow suit.
Some of Prague’s arthouse cinemas, however, will be opening next week for the first time in about eight months.
Aerofilms, which operates popular Prague cinemas Kino Světozor, Kino Aero, and Bio Oko, has already confirmed they’ll be reopening as soon as permitted from May 24. And they’ll even have three new movies (new to local audiences, anyway) to screen when they open, or shortly thereafter.
Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut Falling, Radu Jude’s Berlin film fest winner Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, and Ivan Ostrochovský’s life-under-communism drama Servants will all be screening at Aerofilms cinemas and potentially other venues in Prague as additional cinemas reopen.
“Viewers of our films love movies as much as we do. We therefore decided not to wait for anything,” Aerofilms Director Ivo Anderle stated through a press release.
“We believe that audiences will appreciate the return to cinemas, despite a bit of inconvenience, and together with us they will embark on an experience that only the big screen can convey.”
Over the upcoming summer months, distributors have tentatively scheduled a number of blockbuster films, some of which have been delayed for a year or more due to the pandemic or have already debuted on streaming services.
Features scheduled for release in Czech cinemas in June and July include Godzilla vs. Kong, The Conjuring 3, Black Widow, Fast & Furious 9, A Quiet Place 2, G. I. Joe: Snake Eyes, and Space Jam: A New Legacy.
Lead image: Prague’s Bio Oko cinema via Facebook / BIO | OKO