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question of the weekend: are you comfortable going back to cinemas yet?

MaryAnn Johanson, masked at a movieThis is me, masked up for the first movie I saw in a cinema in more than 14 months. It was May 18, 2021, and I hadn’t stepped inside a movie theater since March 12, 2020. I only felt comfortable returning because it was a very large screen (341 seats), there were only maybe a couple of dozen other critics in the room, and the studio hosting this press screening — Paramount, for A Quiet Place: Part II — implemented the same COVID-safe measures for the screening that it is using on film and TV sets to ensure everyone’s safety.

I’ve been to a few other press screenings and public multiplex showings since then, all with limited capacity, all with a mask mandate. But now, in the UK — I live in London — all those precautions are about to be lifted. And I won’t go back to cinemas unless I am sure they won’t be very crowded (like for an early-morning weekday showing). And I’ll keep wearing a mask.

Are you comfortable going back to cinemas yet? If not, what will it take for you to be comfortable? Or, perhaps you’ve been going to the movies all along during the pandemic, when possible, in which case I’d ask: How safe did that feel, and were you ever worried about your safety?

(I’m reviving my “questions” posts — just on a weekend basis — as an experiment, to see if there’s any interest in them. I’m also posting these as free posts at Substack or Patreon. You don’t need to be a paying subscriber at either service if you’d prefer to comment at either of them, but you will need to register with either site to comment.)

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