Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that cinemas could reopen from July 4. Cineworld and Vue, both global chains with hundreds of screens worldwide, announced plans of reopening UK cinemas from July 10, with adequate safety precautions in place. I am using the UK as a microcosm for scenarios that could play out worldwide, in case you were wondering. There was immediate controversy as Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said that while his staff will be required to wear masks, the audience wouldn’t. This understandably irked Cineworld staff, who would be risking their lives by inadvertently inhaling the coronavirus from an unmasked customer, and they promptly began a petition to fight this.
In the US, where some people feel that wearing masks is an affront to their personal liberty, the AMC chain initially said that it was not mandatory for audience members to wear masks, then did a U-turn and said that it was. Regal, owned by Cineworld, did a similar flip-flop. Wherever it is, including India, it will boil down to the specific cinema on the day, and the audience and staff. I’m sure the hapless cinema workers in India aren’t looking forward to a belligerent unmasked audience member bellowing the equivalent of “Do you know who I am?”