Quebec to Temporarily Shutter Movie Theaters Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

Tenet- Publicity still 6-H 2020
Warner Bros. Pictures

Cinemas in Montreal and Quebec City playing Hollywood tentpoles like Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' will close for 28 days in October under a government order.

Movie theaters are set to shutter in Montreal and Quebec City for 28 days in October in response to rising COVID-19 cases.

"Following the most recent requests from the Government of Quebec regarding the spread of COVID-19, we wish to confirm that all Cinemas Guzzo will be closed from October 1st to October 28th inclusively," Cinemas Guzzo, the province's largest indie exhibitor with 151 screens, said on its website.

Cinemas Guzzo, like exhibitors across Canada, has been playing Hollywood titles such as Christopher Nolan's Tenet on its screens, including on six of its Imax screens in the French-speaking province.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault told a press conference on Tuesday that Montreal and Quebec City had returned to the highest "red zone" COVID-19 alert level and would undergo a temporary lockdown where cinemas would close their doors.

The stricter health precautions imposed by Legault also call for the temporary closure of restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues in the province's two biggest cities. The move has already altered release plans for indie film titles as they move online.

On Wednesday, Diffusion Multi-Monde and Fauve Film said the commercial release of Marlene Edoyan's feature documentary The Sea Between Us will take place Oct. 2 online, rather than at the Cinema du Parc in Montreal and the Cinema Le Clap in Quebec City.

Screenings of the documentary at the Theatre Centennial in Sherbrooke on Oct. 4 and another at Cinema Paraloeil in Rimouski on Oct. 15 will go ahead as planned.

Canadian exhibitors shut down their theaters in mid-March as the novel coronavirus pandemic took hold, and in July and August began to reopen as Hollywood tentpoles once again hit the local multiplex.