As cinemas across the UAE continue to reopen, a number of new safety guidelines have been implemented in a bid to stem the spread of Covid-19. In circulars released by the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Departments of Economic Development, officials have advised rules and considerations pertaining to maximum capacity levels, social distancing measures, and sanitization requirements. While some measures have been in practice since the onset of the pandemic earlier in the year, others pose a new and more vigorous approach to keeping cinemas clean and virus-free.
In addition to capping attendance at 30%, cinemas across the capital will also be required to implement socially-distant seating strategies throughout the cinema. Seats adjacent to one another must be foregone unless they are being used by members of the same party. Furthermore, seats are to be sanitized in between screenings, while theatres are to be disinfected every day following operating hours. Tickets, pamphlets, and touch screens will also be eliminated.
In Dubai, cinemas are to operate at 50% capacity, with the frequency of screenings being reduced to allow for intermittent sanitization of the premises. Cleaning mechanisms are to be implemented in line with the Dubai Municipality guidelines, and shows must allow for a minimum of 20-30 minutes in between screenings to allow for effective sanitization to occur. Pre-bookings are firmly encouraged, with online tickets being scanned at contactless check-in counters upon arrival. Food and beverage counters, in addition to ticket sales, will have one row open, and one row closed to establish appropriate social distancing measures and cash payments, while discouraged, are still permitted. Additionally, food and beverage items being consumed within the cinema must be served in disposable single-use containers, with all serving sizes being intended for individual consumption.