Taking your bubble to the movies

Rachael Pratt, one of Rialto Tauranga’s site coordinators. Photo: John Borren.

Missing the silver screen movie magic?

Rialto Tauranga, which re-opened last Saturday, has an exciting selection of films to choose from with friendly staff ready to welcome back loyal patrons.

Under Alert Level 2, the movie-going experience has changed slightly.

“We’ve implemented contact tracing procedures,” says Rialto Tauranga site coordinator Rachael Pratt. “We take everyone’s name and phone number when they arrive and they sign in and out of an official register.”

The cinema experience can be enhanced with a wine, or popcorn, coffee and ice-cream, as all the usual food and beverage items are available. Staff serving food are wearing gloves and hand sanitiser is provided. X marks on the floor help people retain distance as they queue to purchase tickets.

Social distancing has also been implemented within the boutique theatres.

“We are capping our audience at half capacity during Level 2, to keep people safe. Patrons can sit within their bubble, but they can’t sit next to strangers.”

Rialto Tauranga, which has been operating in the Goddards Shopping Centre since 2005, have made all their sessions to have allocated seating, so that seats are booked ahead of time.

“We’re using a checkerboard pattern,” says Rachael. “Technically, if two of you were coming, you’d be buying seats C2 and C4 but you are allowed to sit together in your bubble. So, you could sit in C2 and C3, so that no one else would be near you until seat C6. By sitting closer together, you’d be extending the gap for the next group.

“And you can choose to sit further apart from other people. We ask that no one comes who is sick.”

Blockbuster films are on hold, but there are still Academy-nominated films being screened.

New films opening this week include ‘Bait’, ‘The Assistant’ and ‘The Last Full Measure’.

“We’re also looking forward to rescheduling the French Film Festival in the very near future,” says Rachael. “And this weekend we’re showing some family movies – ‘Spies in Disguise’ and ‘The Call of the Wild’.”


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