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Popcorn prohibited: will moviegoers return to snack-less theatres?

Last Updated Feb 17, 2021 at 4:43 pm MDT

MONTREAL (CityNews) – Is eating popcorn an integral part of going to the movies?

The owner of a chain of cinemas in Quebec claims it is, after the province allowed movie theatres to reopen on one condition: no popcorn, drinks or candies can be sold.

Vince Guzzo, president of the Guzzo Cinemas chain, says it doesn’t make sense for him to reopen given the prohibition to sell any food or beverage items.

“I won’t even have 50 per cent of the revenue because some people will be turned off and won’t even come,” said Guzzo.

“It just doesn’t make sense. There’s polls being done all over the place. Clients won’t come back to theatres without having that popcorn experience while watching a movie they want to watch.”

Credit: CITYNEWS

Starting Feb. 26, cinemas can reopen across Quebec, even in “red” zones like Montreal. Other restrictions are also being loosened: Indoor sports in arenas and pools will be permitted for family bubbles or groups of two.

“When the original announcement came out, we were happy,” said Guzzo. “We were expecting it. It was a sigh of relief that we might be at the end of this crazy period.”

RELATED: As Quebec loosens restrictions, experts predict rise in cases linked to variants

But the Quebec entrepreneur says the bad news came later, after a delay. Now he feels misled by the government.

“With the public health people we had discussed it, it was clear that we could reopen with the same conditions as we had in July, August and September. Only difference is we were going to have a curfew. And there was going to be a procedural mask as opposed to just face covering. Those were the only two conditions. Everything else was supposed to stay the same.

“That theatre isn’t opening if the conditions aren’t right. I’ve lost enough money on amateur decisions from this government, I’m not going to continue bleeding anymore because they want to continue with the amateurism.”