April 2020

Post Crisis Ideas: Staggered Cinema Seating

At some point around the next 3 to 4 months (possibly?) the government may be in a position to relax the rules regarding lockdown, social distancing and self isolation. How do we deal with entertaining ourselves and gathering at this stage?

Whilst I could not think of any solution for concerts, clubs and bars an idea came to mind for how we could reopen cinemas whilst avoiding the risk of a second wave of the virus taking hold through such an activity.

By booking a row of seats and then leaving a row empty in front and behind the row of seats booked should allow for most venues to have an average of 2 meters between people. Then for each booked row, seats need to be allocated leaving a gap of two seats to the left and right between customers. Provisions could be made for families from the same household to be seated together so any ticket booking system would have to allow for a group of seats to be booked close together with gaps either side.

The lobby area and how cinema patrons are seated again would need modification to allow to manage a two-metre distance between customers when queuing for concessions and to gain entry to the screen. Extra staff management in seating patrons would also be needed to make sure that the cinema is seated either from the front to back or from the back to the front of the auditorium depending on the venues entrance and exit arrangement are. 

All of this still creates issues such as customers needing to leave the movie they are watching for rest breaks or if they just plain want to leave, putting to rest the two metre rule as they brush past other cinema goers to exit the movie. We can only assume what the social distancing rules will be later this year but at this stage and there are no firm guidelines from the government if a relaxing of the rules will be staggered or not.

Either way, it could be something we have to plan for in what will be our ever-changed world.