We've been back open now since May 2021, and, in line with the easing of restrictions, we've consistently kept trading, increased our cinema capacity from 25% to 50% (end of July 2021), increased the number of customers we can serve in the Café & Bar, and expanded our cinema offer to include Tuesdays. This has all been with the aim to rebuild our offer whilst keeping our teams and audiences informed and safe. And to continue with our commitment to access for all our customers, we also introduced a weekly relaxed/socially distant screening.
Just as we have taken a careful and cautious approach to building our business back up we've seen you take a similar careful approach to returning to cultural venues like ours and we want to share what are next steps are. This is your opportunity to tell us how you are feeling and for us to listen to your thoughts and feedback.
Our next steps toward recovery are to increase the seating capacity in our cinemas. From Fri 8 Oct the capacity in our cinemas will be set at 75% of our pre-pandemic number – allocated seating will enable us to continue to space everyone out (one seat between each booking party) and ensure everyone is comfortable. We will also continue to ask everyone to wear a face covering whilst in the cinema and when moving around the building unless they are exempt.
Cinema Experience – Relaxed and Socially Distanced Screenings
To ensure we are supporting all of our audiences, including those that do not want to attend a 75% capacity show, we are continuing to provide alternative options:
- Relaxed Screenings (plus 25% reduced capacity)
Our Relaxed screenings are designed to benefit our customers with additional needs (such as people living with dementia, autism, or other neuro-diverse people and their personal assistants, friends and family) or anyone who wants to enjoy a film in a more relaxed, spacious environment - all are welcome. No adverts or trailers are shown and throughout the screening the lights are up a little and the sound is down a little. People are welcome to move around the space, talk, make noise, and exit and enter the cinema.
- 25% Reduced Capacity Socially Distanced Screenings
We are also adding another two socially distanced screenings every week. The socially distanced screenings will be sold at 25% capacity and have every other row of seats blocked off. We will ask audiences to seat themselves with two empty seats between parties to ensure social distancing, adverts and trailers will play and the lights will be down completely for the screening.
Please let us know us how you are feeling
Please take a few minutes to complete this short survey - we want to hear from you, tell us how you are feeling, what has changed for you? What you tell us will help us to check all our continued plans for a safe and successful move towards recovery.
Thank you so much for your continued support - we really appreciate it.
On behalf of the whole Watershed team, with love
Head of Communications