10.8 C
Byron Shire
May 16, 2021

Local cinemas back in business with added safety

Latest News

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

Other News

False impressions

Fast Buck$, Coorabell I was under the impression that, upon the mayor resigning, the deputy mayor would automatically get the...

Developers push swamp boundaries – will council push back?

It has once again been left to residents to raise serious issues in relation to a development application (DA) that is pushing to overdevelop at 6 Keats Street, Byron Bay at the expense of the environment, in particular the Cumbebin Swamp.

Cocaine bust in Byron Shire, 7 men arrested

Police say two separate investigations into the ongoing supply of cocaine in the Byron Bay area have led to charges against seven men.

How full is that glass?

Cr Alan Hunter, Byron Shire Council Council Staff recommend opposing the proposed changes in the Exempt Development provisions to be considered...

Creative carbon capture

Desmond Bellamy – Special Projects Coordinator, PETA Australia, Byron Bay Last week, the Australian government pledged half a billion dollars for ‘clean’...

Secret footage from Manus detention centre to be screened in Lismore

A thirteen-minute award-winning documentary based on footage secretly filmed inside Australia’s former detention centre on Manus Island is to be screened in Lismore Thursday night.

Ballina Fair Cinemas Manager Paul McGrath with Mulan poster. Photo David Lowe.

The popcorn is cooking and the choc tops are cold. In great news for movie-lovers, the cinemas of the Northern Rivers have re-opened, with added COVID safety precautions.

Echonetdaily asked Ballina Fair Cinemas Manager Paul McGrath what it’s been like to re-open his doors.

‘Our first week was a bit soft,’ he said. ‘People didn’t realise we were open, and we didn’t really have any new movies to show. So we’re just working with these restrictions on seating numbers, and trying to get people in, and feeling safe.

Sam Lewis and Paul McGrath welcome a patron to Ballina Fair Cinemas.

‘We’re offering $10 tickets for everyone, and we’ve barricaded off every second row so there’s no problem with social distancing. Now we just need people!’

As an independent cinema operator, Mr McGrath said he’s managed to keep his staff on with JobKeeper, and has had everyone busily cleaning and repainting while the cinema was closed.

He said patrons have been very happy to see the cinema open again.

‘I think we just need reasons for them to come back in. A day or two of rain would be good! We can’t compete with the sunny weather and the whales jumping out in the ocean.’

New releases

Mr McGrath said there are two new releases next week, the Russell Crowe drama Unhinged, and the Judd Apatow comedy King of Staten Island. Coming in August is the new Australian comedy Rams, with Sam Neill and Michael Caton.

He told Echonetdaily the cinema is ready to adapt to any changing restrictions from government health authorities. ‘We’ve got three cinemas here, and there’s a lot of seats, so even with us roping off every second row we’ve still got quite a lot. We can fit 50-70 in each cinema, and family groups can still sit together because there’s no one sitting in front or behind them.’

And a message for the public? ‘Please support local businesses, that’s what it’s all about’, said Mr McGrath.

Over at Palace Cinemas Byron Bay, General Manager Eli Ayo was all smiles after re-opening a few days ago, although things are a bit different there too.

Palace Cinemas Byron Bay General Manager Eli Ayo. Photo David Lowe.

‘We’ve re-opened with restrictions in place,’ he said, ‘so all our auditoriums have restricted capacities. We’ve blocked off every second row, and then the algorithm works, so if you book a ticket, it will block out the two seats next to that booking as well.’

Mr Ayo said the response from the public has been great. ‘The town loves it, they’re happy to have us back. It’s been overwhelming, really.’

He said the cinema is doing everything it can to create a safe environment.

‘We’ve got contact tracing. We’ve got restricted capacity. We’ve got cleaning procedures in place for all our staff, we’ve got different lineup systems. There’s no reason why it’s not a safe place to come.’

Mr Ayo said issues in the USA have meant there have been hold-ups with hotly anticipated new releases, like Tenet, but ‘that’s expected to come out very soon.’

The focus now is on family films for the school holidays.

Big screen or BIG screen

Echonetdaily asked Mr Ayo if he thought people would come back to the cinema after binge-watching Netflix during the lockdown.

‘There’s nothing I can compare to the cinema world,’ he said, ‘There’s something about going to a movie, buying a choc top, the smell of the popcorn when you enter the building, the surround sound and the quality of the content that we play.’

Until Wednesday 8 July, Palace is doing a special Movie Club deal, with five tickets for $40. ‘You can get as many as you want, so it’s definitely worthwhile,’ said Mr Ayo. ‘People have been stocking up on them!’

He said choc tops will be $2 until Wednesday as well.

 

More photos


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

3 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a shame Ballina cinema doesn’t accept “Companion card” for people living with a disability to attend with their carers. So many disabled people in Ballina, some bums on seats better than no bums on seats. For this reason alone I now go to Palace cinema in Byron. Clean, easy access disability toilet, easy access, easy parking.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.