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Coronavirus: Italian cinemas' horror as COVID-19 plot twist leaves them fighting to survive

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By Euronews
Will cinemas have to move outside to survive in the short-term?
Will cinemas have to move outside to survive in the short-term?   -   Copyright  Uwe Anspach/(c) Copyright 2020, dpa ( Alle Rechte vorbehalten

Italy's strict coronavirus lockdown has brought the curtain down on cinema and forced some to script a new chapter outdoors.

Cinemas have suffered a loss of €60 million since confinement began in parts of the north in late February and then nationwide on March 9.

The country will begin lifting lockdown on May 4 but there is no indication yet when cinemas can open their doors again.

Mariano Pierucci, the owner of a multiscreen venue in Rome and another seven across Italy, fears for the future.

He told Euronews the economic loss and psychological impact of social distancing on customers will have a devastating impact.

“Most businesses won’t be able to survive the present time and, after that, if the measures imposed are too strict, these will have a negative effect on the public," said Pierucci. "They are waiting for us to reopen, but they are fearful.

"Also the economic loss caused by a lower income and the fact that there will be more expenses will oblige some cinemas to remain shut.”

In Velletri, an hour's drive south-east of the capital Rome, one cinema owner is moving everything outside.

Davide Fontana, who runs Cinema Augustus, is expected to be the first drive-in cinema to launch in Italy.

“We thought about bringing our indoor cinema outside, abiding by the safety rules," said Fontana. "This is the only way that allows us to create that bond with the community here and with those people who love the cinema and are our regular customers.”

But it’s not just about cinemas, it’s the whole sector that is feeling the strain.

“Insurance doesn’t cover COVID-19-related incidents on sets," said film producer Gianluca Curti. "Without insurance, movie producers are legally responsible for what happens. Safety can be guaranteed by carrying out daily tests on actors. But it will be more difficult to do the same in the case of entire crews.”

**Your view | What do you think? Is there a future for cinema in your country? How should cinemas adapt to survive? Let us know in the comments, below. **