Seeing as how there's been a pretty distinct lack of clarity on new guidelines issued by the government over the past few days, we thought we'd take it on ourselves to try and explain things.
Currently, the new government guidelines restrict outdoor gatherings to 15 people and 6 to indoor gatherings. However, when it comes to venues where social distancing and contract tracing measures are already in place, they can continue as normal.
In our case, this means cinemas but it also extends to galleries and museums too.
The exact guidelines are as follows: "Businesses/services such as museums, cinemas and art galleries are deemed to be controlled environments, with appropriate protective measures in place such as physical distancing between people. These venues can continue to operate where appropriate physical distancing and all other protective measures can continue to be maintained."
So, yes, cinemas can stay open with 50 people in one screen as physical distancing is able to be maintained.
As well as this, a total of 6 people can be grouped together from 3 households, but no more. So, for example, you have 12 friends from 9 different households, you wouldn't be able to go to the cinema together in one long row. You'd have to separate in the cinema under the new guidelines.
If you've been to a cinema lately, there's a good chance things have been markedly different and we've written about those changes in the past. Essentially, you'll be asked to book your tickets online and only pay by credit or contactless at the venue. You'll have also have to wear a mask, give your contact details for contact tracing, and you'll have to socially distance both in the foyer and in the cinema itself.
It's all a little bit confusing, but for now at least, cinemas don't appear to be quite so negatively impacted, unlike GAA and soccer.