Cineplex to begin phased reopening of Ontario theatres on Friday

TORONTO — Cineplex says it's ready to start reopening select Ontario movie theatres on Friday.

The Canadian cinema operator will begin with 25 locations across the province as part of a wider phased return to business during COVID-19.

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The announcement comes after Ontario Heritage Minister Lisa MacLeod tweeted about a "productive" call with Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob where they confirmed the chain was prepared to operate under Stage 3 measures.

Cineplex spokeswoman Sarah Van Lange says the company will be permitted to admit up to 50 moviegoers per auditorium.

The company says it plans to require guests to wear masks inside the theatre "in communities where it is mandated."

Cineplex has already reopened 45 locations in provinces where distancing restrictions were loosened earlier this summer.

With the openings, the theatre chain introduced a variety of new guidelines, including reserved seating plans to ensure physical distancing.

The company also boosted its cleaning procedures, adopted cashless payment requirements and reduced its food menus to focus mainly on popcorn and candy items.

In Ontario, a lineup of newer releases, including "My Spy," "The Invisible Man," and "Sonic the Hedgehog," will be showing alongside classics such as "Jaws" and "Jurassic Park."

Ticket prices will be $5 each seat, including showtimes at Imax and its 4DX motion seat and sensory experience theatres.

Cineplex has also decided to keep its VIP cinemas, which offer food and alcohol service inside the theatre, closed until further notice.

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