Are cinemas safe? | Day in the life

I love the movies.

Sorry; that is the understatement of the century.

I adore movies.

The idea of gathering with a bunch of strangers in a room, where we can all enjoy this one shared experience. The idea of surround sound and a huge image to display cinematographically gorgeous scenes is something that you can’t easily recreate at home, no matter how robust your home cinema setup. And as great as it is to have the power to pause a movie for a snack or loo break, I’d actually rather go without that for a couple hours to fully immerse myself.

And on Tuesday of this week, that’s just what I did. I made my grand return to the movies – but is it safe? Should you hold off or is it time to make your return, too? For my overall verdict, read right to the end.

Safety first

First things first: how safe is Cineworld in times of COVID-19? Well, I’d be lying if I said that this was my first time back in the cinema since the pandemic hit. I returned when they reopened in August for Tenet, and we were required to book seats at least two apart from other movie-goers. We also had to wear masks throughout the performance, unless we’d planned to eat and drink.

I made the choice to not bring snacks that day, since I didn’t want to risk having to go to the loo halfway through and coming back into a Christopher Nolan film being all kinds of confused. That changed this week. I cooked up some popcorn at home (when I say cooked, I really mean to say burned) and stuffed some water in my bag. As a result, I barely had opportunity to wear a face covering throughout the performance, though the measures did remain in place – as did our need to book two seats away from anyone else.

Every customer and staff that I saw were also masked up when they weren’t snacking. Cleaning was top-notch, too, and the screens weren’t packed to the point where I might risk breathing in somebody else’s stale air.

I was impressed. There wasn’t a single point where I felt unsafe in Cineworld.

Home at last.

Enjoyment

The film that I chose for my grand return? Godzilla vs Kong. Obviously. You’ve got to go for a big, dumb, grand, popcorn movie. That’s what I wanted and, actually, exactly what I got. It was two hours of giant monsters pounding on one another – in a huge spectacle – on the big screen – with loud noises all around me. How could I ask for more?

If you’re looking for an excuse to go to the movies this week, Godzilla vs Kong should be your first call. Just don’t expect some groundbreaking, original new story. Think, ‘there can only be one,’ and you’ve pretty much got the gist of it.

No, you don’t need to have seen the films that lead up to this one (the two Godzilla movies and Skull Island), but it may help for context. I’ve not watched Kong’s latest excursion yet and fared just fine.

This was a stairway to heaven – literally and metaphorically.

Verdict

The question remains: is it safe to go back to Cineworld? Should you even consider it? Are there any movies that you should risk watching?

In a word: yes. I can’t speak for every cinema, but the Cineworld that I visited was hygienic, easy to book and COVID-compliant.

And, you know what? It was also just fun. I loved being back and will absolutely be renewing my Unlimited card once the new releases begin stacking up. If you’re missing the movies as much as I did, then it’s time.

Get back into the cinema as soon as you can. It’s been a long-time coming, but it’s well worth the wait.

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