How safe is the cinema? Experts analyse Covid risks as No Time to Die opens

No Time to Die will open on Thursday to sell-out audiences. This is a great opportunity to see the film, as it has received rave reviews and many people will be making their first visit to a cinema since the pandemic.
Others may find the possibility of Daniel Craig's final role as 007 not worth the risks of sitting in an enclosed space with hundreds of strangers for three hours. Is it safe to go to the movies now that the UK coronavirus pandemic is over?

The greatest risk factor is Covid infection. According to the latest Office for National Statistics figures, it's about one in 90 people in Britain. It is higher among younger populations. Stephen Griffin, a Leeds University virologist, stated that if there are 300 people in a cinema, you will have three to four people infected. These things are safe? It is not completely safe.

If someone with Covid is in an auditorium, there are two ways they can spread the virus. One, through close-range interactions like sneezing or talking to someone, and two, through long-range movements of small virus-carrying aerosols which can quickly accumulate in poorly ventilated areas.

The film's epic duration (two hours and 43 minutes for Bond) and lack of social distancing and adverts will increase the risk of short-range transmission. Professor Tim Sharpe, head of architecture, University of Strathclyde, stated that the risk of dropping a droplet or being in direct contact with someone is higher. Much will depend on how places are arranged. This will be a problem.

He stated that it was probable that I would see Bond film but Ill still try to figure out when it isn't completely rammed. It will probably be towards the end.

Sharpe suggests that mask-wearing can reduce short-range transmission. He said that he would recommend wearing a face cover for those who don't have glasses. While we still need to make the experience enjoyable for everyone, we know that face coverings can make a big difference.

Filmgoers who are concerned about long-range transmission can feel some relief from the good ventilation found in large venues like cinemas. Modern cinemas have mechanical ventilation and the air in auditoriums is replaced at least as fast as people breathe it. This averages to about 10 litres per minute.

Cinemas are also more likely to have high ceilings than they are open plans. This reduces the risk of viruses-carrying aerosols accumulating in stagnant air.

I know of many theatres that are mechanically ventilated. If theyve been well maintained and not constructed in the distant future, ventilation should be good. This is encouraging, stated Shaun Fitzgerald, director of research at the Centre for Climate Repair, University of Cambridge.

Griffin stated that he hopes cinemas will increase the ventilation to reduce risk. He said that the university has done this and can feel the breeze in their lecture theatres.

There are other direct routes to infection than airborne. Avoid giving popcorn to anyone outside your home. Consuming popcorn is not considered a risk factor. Fitzgerald stated that if you are passing the popcorn around there is a risk of spreading the bucket.

Griffin mentioned the possibility of someone putting snot on an armrest of a chair. This is a scenario that hopefully will be avoided by public health messages about basic hygiene measures like hand washing.

Sharpe suggested that if there is a lull during a blockbuster action at any stage it could be an opportunity for the characters to escape to the bathroom. He said that everyone goes to the bathroom at the end of the film, which is a classic scene. This is a natural occurrence after three hours of film, but it's something you should at least be aware.

Is it so overall? Fitzgerald stated: Society is opening up, there will be people worried. It is important to consider all the possible risks.