Local cinemas find creative ways to stay in business during pandemic

Movie theatres in the area have been finding innovative ways to bring in cash during the pandemic and with the most recent province-wide shutdown.

Apollo Cinema has not been allowing indoor screen for months, so the latest lockdown doesn’t make much of a difference.

“We understand why we need to be closed in this situation,” said GM Car Watson. “But it’s sad not having people in her for films. The space just goes empty.”

Apollo has operated as a bar while in the red tier of pandemic restrictions and is experimenting with other ways to engage customers.

“We started doing mystery movie nights in a box,” said Watson. “Everybody seems to be really enjoying it and having a great time.

“We are in very, very early conversations with the city about what a public screening might look like, obviously it depends on gathering limits.”

Jacob Tutt and the Princess Cinemas in Uptown Waterloo have also been getting creative.

“This has been a devastating year for cinemas,” he said. “We’re doing popcorn pickups every weekend, and a big thing for us to support the theatre was our poster auction.

“The movies in the park screenings in Waterloo Park, we have adapted to that last year and we are adapting again this year for more drive-in pop up screenings.”

The Mustang Drive-In in Guelph is planning to expand their outdoor screenings to make up for losses when restrictions allow.

“It’s definitely still a challenging time, every day is unknown right now, a lot of uncertainties,” said Julia Puranda of the drive-in. “It’s day by day right now as with the rest of the establishments, but we plan on going seven days a week this summer.”