Cineplex, Canada’s largest movie theater chain, is preparing to temporarily close its Ontario auditoriums in response to a government mandate limiting indoor activities to help curb the spread of omicron.
The theater chain said its 67 theaters in Ontario would close as of Wednesday, January 5, adding that theaters would reopen “as soon as we are allowed to do so.” The move comes as Ontario enacts restrictions on schools, restaurants and entertainment venues to prevent what Ontario Premier Doug Ford called at a Monday press conference ” a tsunami of new cases in the days and weeks to come ”.
“To make things as easy as possible, we’ve already started processing ticket refunds back to our customers’ original payment method. Guests do not need to contact our customer services or their local theater team for a refund, ”the theater chain said in a statement this week. “We appreciate your understanding and hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you again soon. “
Similar measures have not taken place on a large scale in the United States, and theaters have not hinted that they will make any changes. It’s also worth noting that the closures in Ontario were the result of a broader government initiative rather than elective action. President Joe Biden said in December that the United States had no intention of issuing lockdown orders, adding that with 2 million Americans fully vaccinated, “We are ready. We know more. We just need to stay focused. So that’s where we are.
“We are ensuring that COVID-19 no longer shuts down businesses or schools,” the president said during the Dec. 21 speech. “Last week, the federal court reinstated my administration’s vaccination or testing – the vaccination or testing rule for companies with more than 100 employees.”
Last month, many of the nation’s biggest theaters celebrated pandemic box office records with the explosive debut of Spider-Man: No way Home even as COVID-19 cases continued to rise.
However, several high-profile film and television events have been affected by the spread of omicron. Disney announced last month that a Boba Fett’s book The fan event scheduled for this week would be postponed until February 8, closer to the series finale. Plus, a red carpet event for James Gunn’s HBO Max title Peacemaker was canceled as a precaution.
The closures in Ontario come just weeks after the theater chain said The edge in a statement that the majority of its theaters in Ontario would start operating at 50 percent of capacity under government guidelines. Cineplex previously announced closings of its 17 theaters in Quebec on December 20.