By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
Galleria Cinemas is targeting this Friday for its re-opening after an 11-month COVID-19 enforced shutdown even though it is still awaiting the formal go-ahead from the Government.
Chris Mortimer, Galleria Cinemas' principal, told Tribune Business it was providing the last piece of information that the Government said it required before giving permission to re-open.
"The target opening date is next [this] week Friday. There's something the Government needs from us, which we're providing, and then as soon as that's done we don't expect that there's any issue with regard to us having it," he added.
Cinemas and entertainment venues have been receiving individual re-opening approvals from the Prime Minister's Office over the past week. The Fusion Superplex and Mario’s Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace have both received the go-ahead albeit with certain capacity restrictions and other health protocols.
However, not all entertainment-related businesses are equal, as Galleria and others have endured a longer wait. Ivan Francis, owner/operator of Skate City, said he has heard nothing from the Competent Authority (Prime Minister's Office) on he will be able to resume operations.
Mr Francis said: “I don’t have my letter of approval and this is confusing to me. Because a representative from the Commissioner of Police told me that the Commissioner doesn’t know anything about opening, and he is advising persons with entertainment businesses not to open.”
Mr Francis, who is at his “wits end” and in “limbo”, said he does not know where to turn amid this confusing situation as he has not been getting any response from the Ministry of Health of Office of the Prime Minister on when he will be able to reopen.
He said: “I contacted the Ministry of Health when I put my initial application in, and told them how I intended to conduct business, but I had to call them again where they told me they had my application and all they had to do is go and have a meeting to discuss my matter.
“They told me to go online and fill in a form that would tell me what my COVID score is and, based on that, they would be able to tell me if I am able to open. But I have gotten nothing officially from the Government on when I would be allowed to re-open.
"I thought the approvals were an across-the-board kind of thing when they said they would allow entertainment centres to re-open, but from what I understand Mr Mortimer again asked: 'What about me?' Me and Mr Mortimer are in the same situation; we are waiting to hear official word.”