Cineplex, Landmark Cinemas won't reopen movie theatres in Ottawa under 'Restrict' level

Cineplex and Landmark Cinemas will remain closed in Ottawa this weekend when the capital moves into the new "Orange" level.

Under Ontario's new tiered COVID-19 response framework, movie theatres are limited to 50 people per building, must screen patrons and require contact information.

Both Cineplex and Landmark Cinemas tell CTV News Ottawa all theatres will remain closed in Ottawa and other areas under the "restrict" zone because the 50 person limit per building will put financial strain on the business.

"From a financial perspective, the capacity limitation the Ontario Government has put in place for cinemas ostensibly forces the temporary closure of all of our locations in the affected areas," said a Cineplex spokesperson.

"This means that we will not be reopening our theatres in the ‘Restricted’ areas (aka: Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Ottawa)."

Cineplex will also close the Galaxy Cinemas Cornwall on Saturday, because the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region will move into the "Orange" level.

In Ottawa, Cinpelex operates Cineplex Odeon South Keys, Cineplex Cinemas Lansdowne, Cineplex Cinemas Ottawa, Scotiabank Theatre Ottawa and Cineplex Odeon Barrhaven Cinemas.

Meantime, Landmark Cinemas says it will keep theatres closed in regions classified in the restricted area because the 50 people per complex limit is "simply uneconomic for a multiplex theatre."

We worked with the government upon our initial reopening to demonstrate how theatres are unique and we could safely operate with 50 people per auditorium. We are incredibly frustrated and disappointed that our industry is effectively mandated closed in this classification while across Canada, the U.S., and even internationally there have been no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 transmission in movie theatres," said Landmark Cinemas CEO Bill Walker in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

"With no link to transmission we should be supporting and actually encouraging the public to frequent venues such as ours instead of mandating them closed. Closing venues that have demonstrated the ability to operate safely will only encourage people to gather in venues where the province has less or no control over mandated health measures."

Landmark Cinemas operates the Landmark Cinemas Kanata and the Landmark Cinemas 10 Orleans.

Industry advocates say the new rules on movie theatres in Ottawa, Toronto and Peel region are unfair.

"We're confused and frustrated, and hope that in the very near future, there will be change," said Nuria Bronfman, executive director of the Movie Theatre Association of Canada.

"There have been no incidents of (COVID) transmission in any theatre in Canada."

Meantime, the Mayfair Theatre and Bytown Cinema in Ottawa will open their doors this weekend. But the co-owner of the Mayfair Theatre admits fewer people allowed in the cinema will hurt the bottom line.

"It's just all domino-effect right. If you have 50 people in, that's less popcorn being sold, that's less drinks being sold, that's less memberships being sold, all that kind of stuff," says Josh Stafford.

"So we can get by, but yeah it's not good times."