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Minimize! Popcorn, sweet ban hits French cinemas’ virus restoration


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MARLY-LE-ROI, France (AP) — No extra munching, crunching and slurping on the motion pictures in France: The nation’s more and more fraught combat towards an unprecedented surge in coronavirus infections is placing a cease to consuming and consuming at French cinemas, simply as they present indicators of recovering from the brutal financial bashing of lockdowns final 12 months.

COVID-19 measures kicking in Monday, as soon as France’s New Yr’s celebrations are out of the way in which, will imply an enforced relaxation for popcorn machines and ice lotions left in chilly storage. The ban of no less than three weeks on consuming and consuming additionally applies to theaters, sports activities venues and public transport.

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For cinema house owners hoping to lure again film followers who switched to home-viewing through the pandemic, not having the ability to tempt them with candies and gentle drinks is one other blow. French cinemas offered 96 million tickets within the eight months they’ve been reopened this 12 months, a bounce of 47% in comparison with 2020. However ticket gross sales are nonetheless down 55% in comparison with 2019, earlier than the pandemic, the Nationwide Middle for Movie and Transferring Pictures mentioned Thursday in its have a look at French cinemas’ annual gross sales.

Benoit Ciné Distribution, which provides 70% of France’s cinemas with popcorn, candy treats and drinks, was deluged with each order postponements and supply requests from film homes anticipating good gross sales on the ultimate weekend earlier than the food and drinks ban, with “Spider-Man: No Means Dwelling” and “Matrix Resurrections” that includes on billboards.

“It’s like being informed to use the emergency brake to the high-speed practice,” mentioned Vincent Meyer, a director at Benoit.

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In opposition to raging coronavirus infections, the federal government is hoping its newest measures may even apply a brake on the fast-spreading omicron variant, however with out derailing France’s financial restoration that may be a vote-getter for President Emmanuel Macron, dealing with reelection in April.

In addition to the food and drinks ban, there’ll as soon as once more even be limits on crowd numbers at public venues, with not more than 2,000 allowed indoors and 5,000 outside. The boundaries don’t apply to election marketing campaign rallies, infuriating some musicians who will now not be allowed to carry out for stand-up crowds. Some urged, solely half-jokingly, that they might rebrand their live shows as political rallies.

France’s COVID-19 dying toll is already at greater than 123,000 folks. New infections are larger than they’ve ever been and hospitals are once more overburdened with the gravely sick. Many well being specialists had known as for stricter measures than these introduced by the federal government this week, with some pushing for renewed closures of faculties and companies. France reported one other 206,243 coronavirus infections Thursday, simply shy of the file 208,000 circumstances set Wednesday.

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Michel Enten, supervisor of the Le Fontenelle cinema within the city of Marly-le-Roi west of Paris, was relieved to remain open, even when he’ll now not have the ability to promote cotton sweet, popcorn, ices and drinks. He says he has misplaced about half of his clientele through the pandemic. He expects the ban on meals and drinks to hit bigger cinemas significantly arduous and says it might even assist lure again followers to smaller, arty cinemas like his.

“There are many individuals who hate listening to the sounds of popcorn within the auditoriums,” he mentioned. “Maybe we’ll win over new film followers, individuals who had been watching Netflix and are saying to themselves, ‘Now there’s no extra popcorn, let’s run to the cinema.’”

Cinemagoers mentioned they understood the necessity for brand new measures, though some struggled to see any logic in not having the ability to indulge their candy cravings in cinemas or theaters when eating places are nonetheless allowed to serve meals and drinks.

“It’s going to be unusual to only go to the cinema and do with out all these little moments,” Vincent Bourdais mentioned as he lined up in Marly-le-Roi for “Spiderman.”

“Usually, when one imagines the cinema, one thinks of the auditorium, the gorgeous posters, the popcorn, the smells.”


Comply with all AP tales on the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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