Why most Italian cinemas won't reopen on 15 June

Italian cinemas have lost €30 million due to the covid-19 crisis.

Italy's coronavirus lockdown for cinemas comes to an end on Monday 15 June however it appears that the majority of the country's movie theatres will not reopen any time soon.

Most Italian cinemas believe the rigid anti-contagion measures in place mean that reopening - at least for now - is not worth their while economically, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

The rules include limited entry for social distancing purposes with cinema-goers to wear masks at all times - meaning they are unable to consume food or drinks - a contentious regulation referred to in the industry as the "popcorn question."

"We are going through a difficult and complicated moment and everyone must exercise the maximum sense of responsibility, but we are in a paradoxical situation," said Francesco Rutelli, the former mayor of Rome and current president of ANICA which represents the Italian film and audiovisual industries.

Speaking to RAI News, Rutelli said: "The prime minister about a month ago announced the reopening of cinemas, however the environment allowing cinemas to reopen is not there."

Rutelli's views are echoed by the majority of Italy's more-than 4,000 cinemas which have lost an estimated €30 million due to the lockdown, with thousands of cinema workers in jeopardy.

In Rome hardly any cinemas will reopen in the near future, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, which reports that only UCI Porta di Roma intends to open on Monday, but with just eight of its 14 screens.

The Farnese arthouse cinema in Campo de' Fiori is expected to reopen on 18 June, while filmmaker Nanni Moretti, who runs the independent Nuovo Sacher in Trastevere, will reportedly not begin reprogramming until September (however he will host the cancelled Rendezvous French film festival, from 1-6 July, reports La Repubblica.)

The restrictive rules have led some figures in the movie sector to advance with plans for drive-in cinemas in the Rome area, whose locations and timetables will be announced as soon as they have received the green light from city authorities.

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Wanted in Rome is a monthly magazine in English for expatriates in Rome established in 1985. The magazine covers Rome news stories that may be of interest to English and Italian speaking residents, and tourists as well. The publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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