Norway, Czech Republic to Reopen Cinemas With Capacity Limits

Movie Theater Interior - H 2012
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Movie Theater Interior - H 2012

Norway will allow cinemas to reopen May 7 with 50-person capacity per screen, while Czech theaters will open May 11 with a 100-person capacity limit.

Norway and the Czech Republic are moving to quickly reopen cinemas and other businesses forced to lockdown under measures taken to stem the coronavirus outbreak.

Norway has announced it will reopen cinemas, shut under partial lockdown orders March 12, on May 7. Admissions will be limited to 50 people per screen, similar to restrictions in place in neighboring Sweden, which has not implemented a full lockdown. Patrons will be required to keep a minimum 1 meter social distance between each other. 

In the Czech Republic, the Prague government has sped up plans to restart the country amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and will begin reopening cinemas and theaters on May 11, two weeks ahead of the government's previous May 25 target.

Audiences in theaters will initially be limited to 100 people. Previous restrictions banned all gatherings of more than 10 people due to concerns surrounding the pandemic.

Czech health minister Adam Vojtech announced the new measures late on Thursday. In addition to cinemas, sporting and cultural events, limited to 100 people, will also be allowed from May 11.

The moves raises hopes that film and television production in Prague may also be allowed to restart soon. The country is one of the top spots for international television and film production and if Czech backlots can re-open, it would be a welcome sign that the entertainment industry is getting back to work.

The Czech government has been widely praised for its handling of the COVID-19 crisis, having quickly introduced restrictions and measures early, before the outbreak had spread widely in the country. According to World Health Organization data, there were no new deaths from COVID-19 in the Czech Republic on Thursday. In total, there have been just over 7,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country so far, with a total of 227 deaths attributed to the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.