UPDATE (Mar 16, 9:30 PM): Since I originally wrote this editorial, Cineplex released a second statement saying that they were going to cease operations until at least April 2.
When I first made my statement about the COVID-19 pandemic just a few short days ago, I mentioned that technically cinemas were remaining open. That quickly turned out to not be the case, as the TIFF Bell Lightbox decided to shut its doors on Saturday, a single day after announcing new social distancing policies, which began a domino effect as pretty much every independent cinema in Toronto decided to close, including the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, the Revue, the Royal, and the recently re-opened Paradise. However, there is still one elephant in the room that remains open and that is, of course, Cineplex Entertainment.
Late last week Cineplex followed the lead of other major companies and released a statement about COVID-19, announcing a commitment to enhanced cleaning protocols, with them also deciding to reduce capacity by a minimum of 50%. While that seemed like a respectable decision at the time, it is now looking pretty ridiculous for Cineplex that they are remaining open, while pretty much every other cinema has closed down.
Now, I do believe that it will be inevitable that Cineplex will close its doors, especially with the recent report by The Hollywood Reporter that cinemas in New York and Los Angeles, the two biggest markets, have been ordered to close. However, I do think that Cineplex has somewhat given the message that they weren’t taking the threat of COVID-19 truly seriously.