Cinema 9

Our provisional re-opening plans

Before we get into it we wanted to take a brief moment to thank you all for your patience and support whilst we have been working hard behind the scenes to establish when and how we can open safely. As you can imagine, we have been somewhat challenged by the ‘cosy’ nature of our 1930’s building and we have had to come up with some creative solutions to get you back in to watch all the films you’ve missed over the past few months.

We welcome any questions that this update may raise – please email us on info@theregalcinema.org

Please be aware: our plans are provisional and subject to change
Although we are working towards the dates and plans detailed below we must stress that it is possible that things could change subject to ever-changing Government guidelines, PPE accessibility and staff/volunteer health. We will not deviate from our current plans unless we truly have to, but it is vital that we put the safety of customers, volunteers and staff first.

A phased re-opening
We will be opening the cinema in two distinct phases. The first phase will begin 1st September with private hires. These will run differently to our pre-covid private events and will be significantly discounted – more on this below.

The second phase will start on 2nd November at which point we will open for public screenings three times a week. Initially we will be running 2 rescheduled films and 1 new film each week.

Private Hires – 1st September onward 
For the present Covid-19 climate we have created a new version of our private events. These will cost £120 to members (saving members 20% compared to the £150 that non-members will be charged) with a small additional cleaning charge of £20 to cover the costs of a professional deep clean after each event. If a hire booking includes guests from different household, each household group must be socially distanced at all times including in the auditorium. Unfortunately, because of the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 regulations, there will be no mingling/party element to these private hires; instead it will simply be a private screening for you and your friends.

We do intend to revert to offering our full 4-hour private hire events as soon as we can and we’ll let you know as soon as we are able.

Public screenings – 2nd November onward 
We will begin to run public screenings when the Government’s Job Retention Scheme comes to a close at the end of October. With our (1 full time and 1 part time) staff returning to their normal working hours in November, we will be able to open for 3 public screenings a week. These will initially be held on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings. To avoid crowding we will not be running screenings back-to-back on the same day.

As we have already mentioned, we will begin working through the rescheduled films as quickly as possible but, rest assured, you will still be able to come along and see new films too.

COVID-19 safety measures 
In line with Government recommendations, we have undertaken an extremely detailed Risk Assessment which has allowed us to identify all the possible areas of difficulty, create the necessary safety measures to mitigate those risks, to make us a Covid-safe place for staff, volunteers and customers alike. In due course we will publish the Risk Assessment, along with a handy FAQ page on our website outlining the new procedures. We will also share this in a newsletter over the next couple of weeks.

In a (non-exhaustive) nutshell though, you can expect to see:

  • Volunteers and staff wearing PPE (masks or visors and gloves)
  • Socially distanced queuing & a revised building entry/exit process
  • Track and trace system (each household much provide a contact phone number)
  • Temperature check using a non-contact thermometer ‘gun’
  • Socially distanced seating arrangement in the auditorium
  • Staggered exit of the auditorium
  • One-in-one-out system in the bathroom
  • Hand sanitation stations
  • Temporary perspex screening around the bar
  • No mingling in the bar
  • Increased cleaning throughout the building
  • Special COVID-19 training for all staff and volunteers
Face coverings
The Government recently announced that with effect from August 8th, face coverings will be compulsory in “indoor settings where people are likely to come into contact with others they would not usually meet. This includes cinemas, churches and museums.”In summary:
  • Unless you have a compelling medical reason*, we will require that face coverings are worn when you are in the cinema building until you get to your seat in the auditorium.
  • If you have purchased any food and drink on arrival you will be permitted to remove your mask/face covering while seated and socially distanced in your seat – once the film commences.
  • We do recommend that you wear your mask after you have consumed your drink or snacks, but you absolutely must put on your mask when not in your seat

* you may contact us ahead of a screening to advise us that you have special circumstances that prevent you wearing a mask so that the Registration & Screening volunteer on arrival is aware of your situation. 

Full transparency – what this means financially for the FRCC
As a club we want to make sure we keep you all in the know about what these changes mean for the FRCC finances. Unfortunately, with such a small auditorium, having to close a number of seats to maintain social distancing will have a significant effect on our takings for each film and practically eliminate any profit margin.

We are hoping that there will be enough interest in the new version of our private hires to help us offset this loss in income from the seats we have to close.

Due to the financial challenges of opening with limited seating, we decided it would be best for the longevity of the FRCC to keep staff on partial furlough until the Government’s Job Retention Scheme comes to a close at the end of October. This does mean that responses to emails may continue to be a little slower than normal until staff return to full time hours.

Pausing subsidised and monthly screenings 
Unfortunately we have had to make the difficult decision to pause our subsidised and themed monthly screenings for now. These are: family screenings on a Saturday afternoon, Silver Screenings, Westerns, Foreign Films and Musical Mondays.

We have done extensive financial forecasting (taking into account the loss of revenue from closed seats and reduced bar sales) and we were sadly unable to create a scenario in which the club could continue to subsidise screenings without blowing through our reserves in a mere matter of months. If you hold tickets to any of the subsidised screenings (family films, Silver Screenings and Westerns) you will be offered the choice between a refund, voucher or donating the cost of your ticket/s to the club.

All of our monthly screenings that are held on the same day each month (i.e. last Wednesday of the month) will also be put on a brief hiatus for the time being. With the changes to our screening times, patterns and a reduction in the number of weekly screenings, it would not be possible to honour the screening of these films on a particular day each month. No need to worry though, foreign films and musicals will still feature in our selection of films; they just won’t be limited to a specific day.

We understand that some of this is likely to be disappointing for many of you and we want to let you all know that we are committed to bringing back subsidised and monthly screenings as soon as we are financially able to cover the loss they make, without exhausting the FRCC’s reserves. We hope that you can understand that these decisions have been made to protect the future of Fordingbridge’s community cinema and that the temporary break from these screenings will hopefully enable us to bring you many more years of local cinema.

More information for ticket holders
We will be outlining our process for reschedules in an update coming soon. We are aware that some people may still not be comfortable to come back to public screenings in November in which case we will offer a refund or a voucher.

Bridget is currently working hard to establish which films we can reschedule and will be in touch with ticket holders over the coming weeks to work out the best course of action for each individual ticket holder. As you can imagine this is a very manual process so please do continue to be patient with us as we work though the backlog.

Membership extension
We are planning to manually extend all of our members’ subscriptions by 6 months. If your membership has expired whilst we have been closed, we will be reactivating and extending your membership so that you are able to book any of the new films at your discounted members’ rate.
If you have any queries about your membership, drop us an email to info@theregalcinema.org and we’ll look into it for you as soon as we can.

Thank you
Finally, it’s no exaggeration to say that we are more than a little heartbroken at having to take what feels like so many backward steps after having built up the Regal’s programming and screenings over the past 3 years since we opened.

Our growth and development pre-Covid was down to a hard-working small team at the Regal and also thanks to our incredible family of Regal Volunteers, without whom none of this would be possible. With their help and your much-valued ongoing support, we are confident we can get through this extraordinary challenge and return to the days of packed schedules and lots of ‘sold out’ screenings in our busy little cinema.

Thank you for sticking by us throughout – it means a great deal to us all.