Senator Lyndon Farnham made the comments after the cinema chain once again delayed the reopening of its multiplex facility on the Waterfront by an extra month – stating that current government restrictions had made it ‘not viable for us to operate’.
Cineworld was due to welcome Islanders back to its screens on 17 May, in line with the reopening of its UK cinemas. However, the company says it will not be doing so until the next stage of Jersey’s reconnection roadmap on 14 June – which is when nightclubs and festivals will also be allowed to return.
Senator Farnham said that, although he had ‘not had any direct contact with Cineworld’, current Covid legislation meant the company would not be able to serve food and drink without seating customers at a table – and that this was likely the cause of the delay.
He added that it was ‘probably an oversight’ and that officers were currently working on providing an exemption for cinemas and auditoriums so that the company could resume operations in the Island as soon as possible.
‘I hope it is something that is easily resolved,’ he said. ‘There was certainly no intention to delay the reopening and hopefully Islanders can get back to enjoying the theatre with popcorn and a drink.’
In a statement, Cineworld said: ‘We apologise for the inconvenience but look forward to reopening the cinema for our valued customers when restrictions are eased, which is currently anticipated to happen from 14 June.’
This is not the first time the company has had to push back its reopening date since closing its doors at the start of the pandemic. Last October it announced it would remain closed indefinitely following financial concerns, but had recently announced plans to reopen as Covid restrictions were eased.