Keswick’s cinema reopens today with a new look and revised format for customers after being closed for more than four months during coronavirus lockdown.
The Alhambra’s capacity has been slashed to around 20 per cent of its 248 seats and patrons will have to wear face coverings on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays all the way through screenings which will only take place from 1.30pm and 7.30pm every day.
“We are hedging our bets — half the week with masks, half without to cater for both sets of people,” said co-owner Carol Rennie, who added that things might change if there is an updated announcement from the Government regarding indoor spaces.
She has been training 40 volunteers this week who responded to an appeal for extra ushers to come forward to help apply the new social distancing restrictions.
The volunteers have come from as far away as St Bees to offer their unpaid services to the cinema on a roster.
“There will be a lot of spaces between all the seats. We are talking about a capacity of 40-60 people, depending on how they are made up in groups, couples and singles,” added Carol.
The first film shown at 1.30pm today was the 40th anniversary rerelease of the Star Wars classic The Empire Strikes Back.
“It is quite apt as we are striking back after coronavirus,” said Carol.
A total of eight films will be screened in the first week, including the feel-good Military Wives, multi-award-winning Parasite and the latest Disney release Onward.
The independent cinema, which is more than 100 years old, now boasts a fully refurbished foyer with its original stained glass windows restored to its cloakroom doors.