Irish cinema chain leaves 50% of seats empty to combat coronavirus

The preventive measure is dubbed "in-seat separation"

Irish cinema chain Omniplex Cinemas has enforced mandatory spacing between seats as a preventive measure against coronavirus.

The country’s largest cinema company, which provides 245 screens across 32 venues, will install “in-cinema seat separation” to ensure that every other seat is left empty between viewers.

Omniplex released a statement elaborating on the new attitudes: “Other measures include self-scanning of tickets, increased cleaning regimes and hand sanitising stations in every cinema foyer.”

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Company director Mark Anderson spoke of the chain’s decision to reduce capacity in a bid to reassure the public. “By reducing our capacity by 50pc we hope to give cinema-goers peace of mind when attending the movies,” Anderson said.

The coronavirus outbreak has affected the film industry worldwide: the upcoming James Bond film No Time To Die has been delayed until November (initially due for release on April 3), while Mulan has been delayed in China, where over half of the country’s cinema screens have closed.

Music and film festival SXSW, due to begin on March 13, was cancelled in an unprecedented decision amid fears of the virus. The fate of Cannes Film Festival, due to take place in May, remains unclear.

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