BENDIGO'S Star Cinema staff will seek an exemption from a COVID-19 restriction it believes could harm the business's ability to turn profit when it reopens.
The cinema faces filling fewer than half of the seats than density requirements - the one person per four square metres rule - would permit, as the new rules state cinemas will be allowed just 25 per cent of their capacity.
This means the still-closed venue would be allowed only three more patrons under the next restriction easing step than currently allowed, despite headline figures of up to 100 people in a space.
Star Cinema business manager Martin Myles said he was excited and relieved to be able to plan for the venue's re-opening, after months of shutdown.
But Mr Myles said it would be much harder to make a profit if he could only fill the venue to 25 per cent of its 174-person capacity.
He was still investigating exactly what the definition of capacity used by the state government was, but was hoping to seat more than 43.
If it was based on normal capacity, it would limit the cinema's possible patronage a session to 43 after November 22, compared with 40 allowed if it opened now.
Mr Myles said Star Cinema could seat about 110 people, spread across two spaces, if it followed only the density requirements under the coming restrictions, which come into effect at 11.59pm on November 22.
Cinemas will be allowed up to 100 people in a space subject to density requirements under the next step of eased COVID-19 restrictions.
But this applies only up to a maximum of 25 per cent of any venue's capacity.
Currently cinemas are allowed up to 20 people in a space.
Mr Myles said the cinema hoped to seek an exemption from the 25 per cent clause, because it had such a large space and an excellent COVIDsafe plan.
"We're very excited to re-open, it's been a very challenging year," he said.
"The team of volunteers, staff and our board have been extraordinarily dedicated and supportive during this ultra challenging time, and everybody is raring to go."
The cinema is slated to reopen on December 1.
A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said cinemas were a high risk environment because people who did not normally interact were gathered indoors in close proximity for an extended period of time.
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