Slovenian Cinemas Choose Not to Reopen Under New COVID Restrictions

    Kinodvor cinema Kinodvor cinema photo: Matjaž Rust

    LJUBLJANA: Slovenian cinemas refused to re-open after a recent decision of the Government to ease restrictions only till 2 May 2021. The only exception is Kinodvor, which re-opened on 26 April 2021.

    On 22 April 2021 the Slovenian Government announced the re-opening of cinemas until 2 May 2021, with the number of visitors strictly limited by the size of the theatre (30 square metres per visitor) and with a maximum of 10 people in a cinema.

    "Since we are a public institution and thus obliged to provide access to cultural content, we have decided to open our doors. Of course, we do hope that visiting cinemas will be possible under more realistic conditions as soon as possible, at least at 30% of the capacity as it was from June to October 2020", director of Kinodvor Metka Dariš told FNE.

    All the other cinemas decided to keep their doors closed. "On 19 April 2021 the cinematographic activity was allowed in the yellow phase, so the new decision came as a surprise to both exhibitors and distributors, as most of Slovenia is in the orange phase. An even bigger surprise is another condition which we received from the Ministry of Culture, saying that cinemas are allowed to operate provided there are no more than 10 people per screen, with the exception of special screenings such as screenings for schools. This condition is completely untenable for us, so we will not open for the time being," managing director of Kolosej Kinematografi Damjan Smodiš told FNE.

    This opinion is shared by Nina Hočevar, the Cineplexx head of marketing: "In order to have a complete cinema offer, many activities need to be done in advance and they take a certain amount of time, especially after being closed for several months. We are very much hoping to open as soon as possible, but now more than ever, we need realistically feasible conditions to operate, since our industry was one of the most affected by the COVID-19 crisis."

    Stipe Jerič, director of Maribox, agrees."We have been asking the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, and the National Institute of Public Health for many months to let us know in which phase we can plan the re-opening of the cinemas. And while the decision came on 19 April 2021 that we are in the yellow phase, the recent announcement came as a big unpleasant surprise, and of course we cannot and will not re-open our facility for just 10 days and under such conditions," Stipe Jerič told FNE.