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What it was like to go to Bluewater's Cinema de Lux on reopening day

If you visited a pub on Super Saturday, you'll already know things are a little different under the "new normal".

And if you're feeling like the easing of lockdown means you can relax, safety measures introduced by businesses reopening are a reminder that you can't quite.

Showcase cinema at Bluewater on reopening day
Showcase cinema at Bluewater on reopening day

As one of the first to visit Bluewater's Cinema de Lux on its first day back open after closing during lockdown, the measures which greeted us felt serious.

The numbers of visitors were extremely limited; all staff were wearing visors or masks; there were different socially distant queues, and the place was near empty.

As no new films are due to be released until August, the movie line-up at Showcase is classics, or nearly new films - we picked last year's blockbuster Bohemian Rhapsody.

And if ever you wanted your space, now's the time to visit the cinema as there were just four people in our screening. I doubt even Showcase had been planning for social distance like that, but it was one of the first showings on the first day - I doubt anyone will have the luxury of the cinema virtually to themselves like we did again.

Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Boehmian Rhapsody Picture: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Alex Bailey
Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Boehmian Rhapsody Picture: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Alex Bailey

Visitors are encouraged to wear face coverings, but as only a selection of cinemagoers were wearing them, mine stayed in my bag.

The full safety measures include hand sanitising stations, tills with perspex shields, contactless payments, and after each screening, a thorough cleaning regime, including a new anti-viral fogging machine to eliminate airborne viruses on contact, used on every seat in every screen between shows and at the end of each day. Each auditorium also has a new air purifying system.

You do of course have to make your way through the Bluewater shopping centre, with its new one-way system, which has cross-over points at some places.

Bluewater now has a one-way system
Bluewater now has a one-way system

We had been apprehensive about the whole experience, but I have to say it felt reassuring safe. Oh, and the film was great.

* Movies on offer, with tickets at just £5, are from the 80s through to earlier this year. They include classics such as Back to the Future, The Sound of Music, Pulp Fiction, The Shining, The Shawkshank Redemption and Terminator 2: Judgement Day through to more recent releases including 1917, Bohemian Rhapsody, Dunkirk, IT, Jumanji: The Next Level, Little Women, Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy and La La Land.

For younger visitors there will be Despicable Me, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Paddington and Paw Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue. Book by clicking here.

Other cinemas are set to open next week. Click here for more details.

For more entertainment news across Kent click here

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