A WARRNAMBOOL cinema shut for most of the year due to COVID-19 is pushing for a firm reopening date as health restrictions ease for some industries.
Capitol Cinema manager Greg Gent said the cinema had been "shoved at the back" of the state's roadmap to reopening with no definite time frame for screenings to resume.
"My personal perspective is that if we have pubs and churches and gyms going back, surely cinemas should be able to open," Mr Gent said.
But Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Wednesday that it was still not safe for cinemas to open.
"No time at the movies is worth putting at risk everything we have built," he said. "There will be a time to do that."
Under the the state's roadmap cinemas in regional areas could reopen to heavily restricted numbers of people when the state does not record a COVID-19 case for 14 days.
Two new cases in Melbourne were reported on Wednesday.
Mr Andrews said cinemas would reopen under the plan, but how many, under what time duration, social distancing and cleaning remained "very challenging".
"There will be some outdoor cinema activity permitted before there's indoor," he said.
Mr Gent acknowledged the health concerns for indoor spaces, but pointed out that cinema goers would wear a mask and face a screen rather than each other.
"In between the two lockdowns, we had 20 people per screening. We had our contact tracing down pat, we were sanitising everything, it worked really well," he said.
"I don't see why we can't do that again."
The Warrnambool venue is half-owned by Village Cinemas, which is also pushing for clarity on a reopening schedule.
Mr Gent said half of the cinema's 24 staff were on JobKeeper and many had sought employment elsewhere.
"We have encouraged that because we have no idea when we are coming back," he said.
The cinema closed in March, reopened in late June and has now been closed since early August.
Mr Gent said many movie releases had been pushed back next year due to the coronavirus, including James Bond and Disney films.
"Going to the movies is all about escaping, and there is a lot of bad news going around these days. I think it will be a good thing for people's mental health when we open," he said.
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