Since we closed the doors to Filmhouse on March 18th we have been thinking about how and when we can re-open. Our old building is sad and flat without you, without the films and without our amazing staff, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back.
When will we re-open?
We hope to open Filmhouse Café Bar in the middle of August and our cinemas in September.
Why aren’t we opening earlier?
We want to get this right. You told us in our customer survey that you trust us to open safely and we want to prove that trust has been well placed. We are reviewing and testing everything we do to ensure that our customers and staff feel confident they will be well looked after when we open our front doors.
We won’t rush this as it is too important to us. We have an old building with lots of nooks and crannies and we have to plan how everything will work from the moment a customer thinks about booking a ticket until the time they have safely left the building.
For the last four months we have earned no income while maintaining a 200 year-old building. This has left us in a really tough financial position. As a charity we have to ensure our financial viability so that great cinema can be enjoyed for generations to come. That means we have a responsibility to take our time right now in making decisions that will have long term consequences.
Deciding when to re-open will carry risks. There will be additional costs in re-opening – both in terms of staffing and in putting in place appropriate public health measures. And with social distancing measures we will be able to welcome fewer people into the building, meaning less income. So, we can only do it when we are confident that the time is right. There are a couple of things that are important to our decision making.
Firstly, the detail of what social distancing and hygiene measures will be required. Keeping people two metres apart in the Filmhouse building doesn’t work. Thankfully, it looks increasingly likely that this will be one metre by the time we open, however, we still don’t know what additional precautions will be required to keep our customers and staff safe. We won’t re-open until we have put these precautions in place and have tested them.
Secondly, we don’t think August would be a great month to open our cinemas. A combination of sunny days and a limited slate of new films, mean that opening in August would be a risky choice at exactly the time we shouldn’t be taking risks.
But we really do miss you, and we hope that we will be able to open the Café Bar a few weeks before the cinema and get used to having our customers and our people back in the building.
Over the next few weeks we will be involving more of our people in our re-opening plans, seeking their feedback, training them in new protocols and fine-tuning everything as we go. We will keep you updated on our plans to keep you safe and our re-opening dates as they firm up.
We are doing everything we can to sensibly and safely welcome you all back into Filmhouse as soon as we can. We can’t wait to see you again.
In the meantime, if you would like to donate to our fundraiser, you can do so here.
If you have any questions or comments please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you.