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UK Cinema Owners Strongly Oppose Use of Covid Vaccine Certificates – Deadline

UK cinema owners remain strongly opposed to the idea of ​​adopting Covid-19 vaccine ‘certificates’, which would confirm that a participant has been vaccinated, although the idea has gained traction with the government.

A report today in the national newspaper The Guardian quoted Philip Knatchbull, CEO of UK cinema chain Curzon, as proposing the idea of ​​having both vaccine-only screenings and screenings where no shots will be required for entry.

Knatchbull confirmed at Deadline that vaccination certificates are “only one option that we are considering” and that “it is not viable to continue general measures of social distancing indefinitely”.

“Whichever route we take, we will always provide options for people who cannot be part of the immunization program,” added the CEO of Curzon.

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However, the leaders of the other cinema chains are unanimous in their positions – theaters will only adopt the use of vaccination certificates as a last resort.

“It is not feasible,” said an executive of an independent chain bluntly. They questioned how the system would be applied, whether it would be discriminatory, and pointed out that large companies in other sectors rejected the idea as well.

Mark Cosgrove, who runs Watershed, a leading independent site, said Deadline that its site opposes the use of certificates because they would place an additional burden on staff at a time when the number of employees has been reduced, that they would not be inclusive and could have a significant impact on vulnerable groups , including people with disabilities who cannot be vaccinated, and that this would likely have an additional negative impact on cinema finances.

This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson reversed his previous anti-certification stance, indicating that the government was exploring the idea of ​​ads. He told reporters on Thursday that “there will be a role to play for certification” and that it may be possible to implement a certificate system “when absolutely everyone has been offered a vaccine”. The hospitality industry largely responded negatively to the suggestion.

The film biz takes largely the same position. Phil Clapp, managing director of industry body UKCA, said Deadline that for “ethical, operational and equality reasons” her association and “the overwhelming majority” of its members are firmly opposed to the idea.

“While it will be up to each company to decide its approach, we know of none that actively consider separate screenings for people with and without a Covid certificate,” he commented.

UK cinemas will be able to reopen on May 17 and plans are being made for how the return to business will work. At present, there is no consensus on the use of virus prevention measures such as distance, occupancy reduction, disinfection, etc. Deadline understands that the most likely outcome initially will be a picture similar to how cinemas operated before the last lockdown, which required the use of masks and reduced occupancy.

That could change, however, on June 21, which is the UK’s current target date for lifting the vast majority of restrictions.

From Johnson’s recent comments, the film industry feels the introduction of voluntary vaccine certificates looks increasingly likely. It is expected that companies will have the option of continuing to put preventive measures in place or to adopt a certificate enforcement system.

Since the restrictions have such an impact on the revenue that cinemas can generate, the alternative option could be attractive to some owners. It is likely that smaller sites with one or two screens, where a general rule could be adopted, would find the implementation simpler than larger sites. However, at present, the idea is poorly supported.

As a movie director points out Deadline – how would you safely set up remote experiments separately for vaccinated and unvaccinated members of the public in venues, which should be divided for entry points, concessions and screens?

The June date could also change. While the country’s immunization program has been exemplary to date, supply delays have already pushed back immunization targets and it remains to be seen whether this will have a ripple effect on reducing lockdown measures.

“Covid certificates are a bad idea,” said one executive.

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