Updated Coronavirus Advice for Community Cinemas

Please note: this was an email that was sent out to Members on 12 March 2020. Our advice may change over the coming week.

Another update from us as we continue to monitor the current health situation in the UK. The government has moved the UK from the ‘containment’ to ‘delay’ stage today. At the moment, official government advice has not suggested that public gatherings should be postponed or cancelled – however, Cinema For All considers it good practice to always think of protecting your audience – especially if they are older or vulnerable, as many community cinema goers are. You may now wish to consider postponing your screenings.

Below is some information that might help you with your next steps. We will send you more updates as and when the government advice changes:

1. Cinema For All will continue to point you towards NHS guidances, such as those detailed in our last email. Good hygiene is incredibly important at the moment and making sure people who have either come in contact with the virus, or are experiencing any symptoms, are self isolating is an important first defence for ourselves and those more vulnerable than us.

2. During this period, if you are cancelling a Cinema For All Booking Scheme screening, you will not be charged a cancellation fee, even if you forget to tell us. We do, of course, ask that you drop us a line within two weeks after your original screening date, but we understand if it may slip your mind. However, if you are cancelling an equipment hire, we do ask for proper, written notice at least 24 hours before your hire so we can process a refund and contact the equipment hosts.

3. To avoid incurring costs with your venue or other partners, make sure you talk to them soon, and check any cancellation policies. Don’t rely on an insurance claim to recoup costs, as some policies don’t look to be covering the pandemic.

4. Many of you may have vulnerable or elderly audience members who will be more at risk from public gatherings, and also might be very worried at the moment. When communicating cancellations and postponements, it may be helpful to look at this sensitive notice from Ormeau Community Cinema, which we have found well-worded and without a sense of panic. If you do cancel your screenings, we do suggest reaching out by phone or email to audience members that might be vulnerable and worried, to check on their wellbeing.

5. From tomorrow, some of the Cinema For All team will be working at home. We will still be able to answer the office phone (through our computers), respond to emails and deliver our online training programmes Launchpad and Sustain. In the coming days, our equipment hire service may be suspended temporarily, but we will keep hirers very informed of any decisions/ host closures.

6. We all love and value what we do as the community cinema sector – but remember, there’s no shame in taking a break for a while. Keep on top of the official advice, talk to your audience, keep others safe and wash your hands often.