Cinema owner says Covid passports would have spelled disaster

The owner of a Borders cinema has welcomed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that Covid vaccine passports will not be extended to more venues.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 11:06 am
The Pavilion Cinema in Galashiels. Photo: Bill McBurnie

Mrs Sturgeon told MSPs this week that Scotland remained in a “precarious position”, a slight fall in new national Covid cases meant that it would “not be proportionate” to extend the passport scheme to cover cinemas, theatres and other hospitality venues.

Andrew Poole, who runs the Pavilion Cinema in Galashiels, told the Southern that his business may not have survived otherwise.

He said: “We're delighted with the Scottish Government's announcement that the Covid Pass program is not being extended to include cinemas.

"If this had been implemented it could have spelled disaster for the cinema.

"Evidence from other European territories where this has been implemented shows that cinemas see about 50% drop in admissions.

"As much as we have been busy with No Time To Die, one busy film does not make for an extended economic recovery and we are still seeing suppressed admissions for almost all other films.

"If we had been hit with a 50% reduction in admissions we would not have survived without further help from the Government.”

Mr Poole added: "The threat of Covid passes has not gone away though; it's being reviewed in three weeks. So, we just need to hope that the stats around Covid stay down and vaccination uptake continues to stay high.

“For now we can focus on what we do best, providing a safe, enjoyable cinemagoing experience for our amazingly loyal customers."

Mrs Sturgeon went on to say that it was “vitally important” for people to take a lateral flow test before socialising with others over the festive period.

Local figures do show that the virus is still very much with us.

In the Borders, 80 new cases were recorded yesterday (Wednesday), with 382 in the latest seven-day total (up to November 21), giving a total of 10,676 cases since the pandemic began.