Movie theaters in Australia are aiming to re-open in July, the National Association of Cinema Operators said late Tuesday local time. Cited by local media, the org said it was “enthusiastic about the prospect” and “is hopeful of conditions enabling it to do so in July.”
Oz cinemas began to partially shutter in mid-March, amid the coronavirus crisis, and all theaters were ordered closed a few days later. NACO’s statement did not provide an exact date for returning to operations, says the Sydney Morning Herald. However, mid-July would line up with the first big studio tentpole on the global release schedule, Warner Bros’ Tenet from Christopher Nolan. Still, NACO added that it “acknowledges that studios will not release new titles until the majority of cinemas are opened around the world” which would be a factor in when Australia re-opens. International majors are increasingly targeting July where both Tenet and Disney’s Mulan are currently parked.
The org also included a a codicil that theaters will not be back online until the local government says it’s safe. As with other markets, cinemas would open with new guidelines.
“The Association has developed an Australian industry standard for sanitization that it feels confident the industry can achieve… These will include staggered session times and spaced seating to meet social distancing requirements, contactless and cashless transactions wherever possible, investment in sanitization stations where appropriate and increased frequency of cleaning cinemas, staff wellness policies to ensure the wellbeing of staff and the promotion of the Government CoVidSafe app download amongst staff and customers.”
NACO represents more than 2,000 screens at nearly 500 locations, as well as 12,000 employees.