Ford says Cineplex proposal to allow more moviegoers is under consideration

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says health officials are considering Cineplex’s proposal to increase the number of people allowed inside multiplex theatres.

The province’s Stage 3 reopening guidelines cap a movie theatre’s occupancy at 50 guests per building, regardless of how many screens it operates.

But Ford says he agrees with Cineplex’s suggestion that it doesn’t make financial sense to reopen a theatre with about a dozen auditoriums, only to “put two or three people in each cinema.”

Cineplex has asked the province to reconsider the current rule, saying it would lose money by reopening locations in the province.

Ford says Cineplex’s proposal is “on the table,” but that any changes would have to be approved by the chief medical officer.

He says health officials would like to see the number of COVID-19 cases on a steady decline first.

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“If they feel like we just aren’t ready yet, then we aren’t ready,” Ford said at a news conference on Friday.

“But hopefully as the numbers decline — and hopefully they’re going to continue to decline outside of the couple of (increases) we’ve seen last few days — then I think they’d be more flexible.”

His remarks came as he announced that any move to phase 3 reopening for Toronto Peel and Essex may have to wait until at least next Wednesday, instead of Monday when such announcements are normally made. The province experienced a big jump in new cases overnight to 195, mostly concentrated in the GTA, Ottawa and Windsor-Essex

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