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Movie House cinema chain owner Michael McAdam

Movie House cinema chain owner Michael McAdam

� Press Eye - Belfast - Norther

Movie House cinema chain owner Michael McAdam

The owner of the Movie House cinema chain believes that if the public is not given controlled areas to spend time with their family or friends as the lockdown is lifted then "we will lose control".

Michael McAdam said it was "dangerous" to mix sport and cinemas under the leisure banner, as each is different in its own right.

The Executive launched its roadmap out of lockdown on Tuesday and under 'sport, cultural and leisure activities', leisure centres and other indoor leisure facilities, including cinemas, could open at stage four of the plan.

Mr McAdam felt it was wrong to categorise every business and believes the decision on whether they should reopen or not should be judged on an individual basis.

"It's up to each of us who operate a business to convince those who make the decisions how we can operate our businesses. I think it's wrong that every business is categorised," he said.

"It's not just from a selfish business perspective, but I think it's important for people to see something happening.

"In stage one, four to six people can meet up, but where are they going to go and what are they going to do?

"Unless there's going to be something that people can go to, I think people are going to become very depressed."

In an effort to prepare his cinemas for reopening, Mr McAdam has installed sneeze guards at tills and ordered temperature scanners from China. He has also updated the chain's software so customers can only buy tickets online, which will automatically keep patrons away from each other inside the screens.

"It's all about trying to reassure customers.

"All in all, we have been looking at this the whole way through and even how we are going to get people to leave the cinema," he said.

Speaking later on BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra, Mr McAdam was asked about the feasibility of drive-in cinemas.

"When we knew the lockdown was coming I was investigating this, particularly at the Jet Centre complex in Coleraine. The problem is that you need a very large car park and there we could accommodate about 40 cars," he said.

"From a commercial aspect that wouldn't really be viable. But I don't want to be the spoilsport here as I think it's a brilliant idea."

Belfast Telegraph