Cinema chain casts doubt on use of vaccine passports

·3-min read

Vaccine passports would create a “significant barrier” between cinemas and their customers, the general manager of Vue in the UK and Ireland has said.

Toby Bradon said the industry did not believe that asking customers to provide certification when seeing a film would make the cinema experience “a safer one”.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed on Monday that England would proceed to Step 4 of the road map on July 19.

Camberley Town – Surrey
Vue said it aimed to deliver ‘a safe and enjoyable environment’ (John Walton/PA)

While people will no longer be legally required to wear face masks or socially distance, Boris Johnson has encouraged businesses and large events to use so-called “vaccine passports”.

Mr Bradon told the PA news agency: “Obviously, we heard the comments from the Health Secretary in terms of the use of Covid status certificates, or Covid passports.

“As I say, we aim to deliver a safe and enjoyable environment and we believe we deliver that at Vue. We, in general, believe that is delivered across the cinema industry as well.

“We have had a growing number of people coming back to the cinema so they are feeling more comfortable and we have had great feedback from those that have come.

“As an industry, we don’t believe that the use of Covid status certificates or passports will make the cinema experience a safer one, and there are also at the same time significant issues in terms of discrimination.

“We believe it will build a significant barrier between the sector, the industry and its customers, when we are trying to rebuild the business – rebuilding it safely but in an enjoyable way at the same time.”

The cinema chain is launching a year-long project in partnership with market research agency Kokoro called The Fulfilment Report, which will survey 2,000 people each week as the sector emerges from coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Bradon welcomed the announcement that most measures would end next week and said Vue would be continuing with its coronavirus safety measures.

“We follow all the guidelines, we have done all the way through,” he said.

“We will be maintaining some of those additional elements as we go through the 19th, so the enhanced sanitation, the regular cleaning.

“We will try to make sure we reassure customers, make sure they have a safe but enjoyable experience as those restrictions change.”

Initial findings from The Fulfilment Report suggest 39% of cinema-goers have either returned to the cinema since reopening in May or intend to do so in the coming months.

The research indicates these “early returners” are 22% more likely to have overloaded on social media over the last year than the general population, 19% more likely to struggle to get going in the morning and 64% more likely to have felt unfocused at work.

Two-thirds (68%) of cinema-goers also said watching a film in the cinema would have a positive impact on their mental state that day.

The Fulfilment Report also indicates seven out of 10 cinema-goers are planning to prioritise hobbies and interests, with 83% making sure their mental well-being is looked after as a priority.

Vue has launched the A Million Minutes initiative in which it will gift at least one million minutes of cinema to the public for the next two Mondays.

Mr Bradon said: “It’s escapism, it’s immersion. We talk about the ultimate big screen experience – the seats, the sound, the food and drink that comes with it.

“The whole immersive environment we think adds value to customers and they are able to switch off, sit back and relax, as we say.”

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