Bosses at one of Bristol’s most popular cinemas say that they are “desperate” to reopen.
But despite the most recent government announcement saying that cinemas and bars in England will be able to reopen from July 4, the Watershed will remain closed until September.
In a statement, the Watershed said that their current focus is on planning the safe reopening of the building and ensuring that all of their staff are trained appropriately.
They also want to make sure that they have all the new systems, resources and processes in place, and working well.
“You told us very clearly in our audience survey results that the safety of both staff and customers was most important to you and we wholeheartedly agree. All of this takes time,” the statement said.
The statement added: “Our job as custodians of Watershed is to ensure its long-term viability and survival…
“The financial impact of the last three months means that we cannot take any financial risks at the moment when the potential of demand and levels of business remains so unclear.
“Like many organisations across the cultural sector we are also having to undertake a redundancy and restructure process during this period, which is both challenging and heartbreaking.
“There are also other external considerations like the hot weather which tend to make July and August a quiet time for us and is just one more factor that has contributed to our decision to take a slower approach to reopening compared to other businesses.”
The senior leadership team at the Watershed have been sharing ideas and talking to other independent cinemas across the country who are also looking to open in September.
They are currently in the process of sharing their detailed reopening plans with all staff to consult and get feedback from them, and once that is completed promise to share the results publicly.
The statement added: “Please know that we are doing everything we can to reopen our wonderful building and our offer to you all. We miss you all so much and can’t thank you enough for all your support and kindness over these last few months.
“You are all Watershed and we cannot wait to welcome you home.”
Despite their building still being closed, during the pandemic the Watershed team have still been sharing highlights from across their multiple activities, including the cinema, creative tech, Pervasive Media Studio and Rife Magazine.
Elsewhere in Bristol, July 10 has been confirmed as the reopening date of Showcase Cinema de Lux in Cabot Circus, Showcase Avonmeads and Cineworld in Hengrove; and July 16 the reopening date for the Odeon.
The Orpheus in Henleaze is due to reopen sometime in July, with Vue and Everyman yet to confirm a date.
Main photo by Martin Booth