The reopening of the Belmont Filmhouse feels “pleasantly normal” after six months away, its boss has said.
The much-loved cinema, located on Belmont Street, has undergone a number of major changes to ensure the safety of customers and staff ahead of the reopening.
Customers must now book their ticket online before visiting, and seating has been divided into socially distanced “pods” for different households.
Distancing signage and floor markings have been introduced in the building, plastic protective screens have been placed at service points, hand sanitiser is being located throughout the building and contactless payment will be required when buying drinks and snacks.
As with all cinemas, face coverings are also mandatory for those who can wear them.
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Colin Farquhar, head of cinema operations at the Belmont, said he had already seen some familiar faces who were delighted to be back in the venue.
He said: “Pals came in to watch a film who I didn’t expect to see, so that was nice.
“I’ve had a couple of chats with customers on the phone, it’s smashing. It’ll be gentle for a couple of days – you want to be busy, but it’s also helpful just to find out what stuff works and what doesn’t in terms of how we’re set up.
“It’s just nice to have some trade going and folk coming in.”
The decision was made to open the cinema on a Monday, allowing some time to settle in ahead of the weekend unlike its sister site The Filmhouse in Edinburgh, which reopened on a Friday.
As a result, the rush of customers has not been overwhelming, which Colin sees as a positive.
He said: “We’ve not had a lot of punters in so far, but everyone has been agreeable and knows what’s expected.
“They all expect there to be hand sanitiser, everyone expects queues, everyone’s wearing their mask.
“I think it’s one of the benefits of being more or less the last place in Aberdeen to reopen, I think everyone’s clued up at this stage.”
He added: “After being in here for six months, I thought today would feel weird and it doesn’t. It feels so pleasantly normal, and that’s good.”