'Safety over money' for entertainment centres


Tribune Business Reporter


Entertainment centres yesterday pledged to prioritise “safety over making money” when it came to re-opening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chris Mortimer, president of Galleria Cinemas, told Tribune Business: “We have to err on the side of caution, and the government is not doing anything different than any other government is doing elsewhere in the world. I have no issue with the way in which the government has structured the phased reopening.

“We have to make sure that we do what’s best, and in the best interest of the Bahamian people, in making sure they stay safe. I’m in complete agreement with what the government is doing in that regard, and we have to play it by ear. If it means it has to be pushed back a little bit to make sure we err on the side of caution, I’m comfortable with that too.”

Cinemas, restaurants, nightclubs, bars theatres and other entertainment destinations will be among the last sectors in the domestic economy to re-open when the government judges that the time is right. They are presently in “phase four”, or the fifth out of six stages, in the prime minister’s plan to return to business.

“We don’t know when that particular phase is going to come in place,” Mr Mortimer added. “We don’t know what the government’s protocol is going to be, so obviously it means we are going to have to have a limit on the amount of persons that’s going to be able to come in.

“It is going to be a percentage and it will not be 100 percent. We are going to have to sanitise seats and chairs, and the use of gloves and masks, of course. There will be a requirement for face covering, and then we will determine - along with the government protocol - the maximum level at which we are going to be able to allow people to return to the theatres.”

Leslia Miller-Brice, manager of Mario’s Bowling and Family Entertainment Centre, said: “We’re just taking it in stride and following what government officials are telling us. Safety for us is first over making money, so that is what we are dealing with right now.”

She added that the company was assessing COVID-19 safety procedures and protocols with that US bowling centres are following to determine what lessons can be learned. “We will have changes in place to protect our patrons,” Ms Miller-Brice said.

She added that she “hopes not” to see a reduction in customers, but warned: “Based on the economic climate right now you just can’t say. But we hope when we open our doors people would want a break, and they would want to get out and want some fun with their family and friends, and choose Mario’s.”


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