Northern Ireland news

Belfast cinema owner suggests customers buy extra ticket to ensure social distancing

Executive ministers decided to remove the one-metre distance requirement for the retail sector, indoor attractions and seated indoor venues

A BELFAST cinema owner has suggested customers could buy an extra ticket for a show to ensure they are social distanced from others.

Michael McAdam, owner of Movie House Cinemas, said while it would be "bit more costly" for the customer, it would "ensure there will be nobody sitting beside them".

It comes after the Executive announced changes to social distancing requirements, removing the one-metre distance requirement for the retail sector, indoor attractions and seated indoor venues.

It will also be removed for shops, cinemas, theatres and many other indoor settings from 6pm on September 30.

Mr McAdam said the one-metre rule had had a massive impact on cinemas with most operating at a significantly lower capacity.

He told the BBC: "We will aim when you go to the box office to ensure that we keep at least a seat beside you free.

"If you are booking online, we can't guarantee that because we can't control that.

"But people have a choice - it may be a bit more costly but they can book the seat either side of them if they want to ensure there will be nobody sitting beside them."

He added: "We will endeavour, even though there is no legal requirement to keep a space between you and the person beside you, but we are working with technology that there is only so much we can do."

Ian Knox cartoon 29/9/21 

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