The Lombardy region of Italy — Milan in particular — has been greatly affected by the pandemic. Even though the number of people infected each day with COVID-19 in Italy is low compared to the rest of Europe, Milan keeps showing a relatively high number of contagious individuals. Under this constant threat, going to the movies is a challenge, but cinema operators, at least in this large city, have gone out of their way to create and enforce safety protocols in order to give cinemagoers a sense of security and confidence so that they might enjoy a great entertainment experience.

Nineteen multiplexes and six single-screen theaters operate in the Milan metro area. On a recent Saturday in October, a total of 45 different movies were shown on 188 screens from 11 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. Ticket prices ranged from seven euro (U.S.$8.28) to nine euro (U.S.$10.65).

For this account, a VideoAge reporter screened the silly Italian-made romantic comedy Divorzio a Las Vegas (in these times of crisis, only a comedy would do!) at a 3:30 p.m. showing at Plinius Multisala, a six-screen multiplex with strict anti-COVID safety procedures.

At the ticket counter the salesperson recorded the names and telephone numbers of moviegoers (for tracing purposes in case someone is found to be infected later). Before entering the auditoriums an attendant took patrons’ temperatures, and a hand sanitizer dispenser was nearby.

The screening rooms themselves were well ventilated (but lacked specialized filters) and were disinfected after each showing. All seats were pre-assigned and an inspector made sure that patrons kept their facemasks on throughout the movie. The theater where Divorzio was shown had 74 seats, however for safety reasons it could only be operated at 50 percent max occupancy.

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