Three months and counting...

Just the other day, we 'celebrated' 90 days since the ByTowne – and a whole lot of other businesses – closed because of the pandemic.

We're now seeing signs of a gradual re-opening of the economy, in some business sectors and in some regions of the country. I'd love to be able to give you a date for the ByTowne's re-opening, but I don't have one yet.

As Stage 2 of the Ontario government's re-opening plan is unfolding,
the Stage 3 plan still doesn't offer specifics.
Gatherings in public venues like the ByTowne will be, understandably, among the last things to get the green light.

But while we wait, the top brains at the ByTowne are working hard to prepare for that glorious day when we can welcome you back to the cinema.
And some things just won't be the same.
Some Obvious Changes
As with most businesses that welcome the public, the ByTowne will be:
  • keeping you 2 metres from strangers by blocking off some seats, and by indicating where you should stand when you're in a queue
  • Putting hand sanitizer in a variety of accessible places
  • Disinfecting hard surfaces frequently
  • Requiring staff to wear non-medical masks*, and asking customers to do so too, at least until you're settled in your physically distanced seat
Some Changes That Will Bring Us
Into The 21st Century
Regular customers know that the ByTowne has been a cash-only business since, well, the invention of currency. But we know that contactless payment is more important now, so we'll be:
  • adding the ability to take Debit payments a the box office (with 'Tap' authorization strongly encouraged)
  • Selling tickets for all shows on line. Limited seating capacity means you'll want to be sure of your ticket before arriving

We'll also be "updating our schedule of fees", which is sneaky capitalist code language for a price hike. Sorry, but prices have been the same since September 2014 and at this point, we just can't afford not to raise them. We hope you understand.
One Change That Will Use Your Arithmetic Skills
  • Memberships are meant to offer 12 months of savings, but (at least) 3 months have evaporated without anyone having a chance to use their Membership privileges. Instead of replacing all those cards, we're just going to extend their validity. If yours has an expiry of (say) August 2020, add 3 months. We'll honour it until the end of November. [Maybe it'll be 4 months; stay tuned!].
Changes That May Keep Changing
  • There will be fewer screenings per day, and more time between shows, so that we can perform the extra cleaning needed to keep you as safe as possible
  • The concession stand won't be opening for the first weeks. We want to see what traffic issues we have in the lobby before we let people congregate at the snack bar. We know you love the ByTowne's fresh and tasty popcorn, but for your first few trips to the cinema, you may want to pack some chips or trail mix
  • There will be new procedures for more orderly exiting after a movie, until distancing measures are relaxed
*About Those Masks
I just received a supply of customized non-medical masks. And I deliberately ordered too many, hoping that you might want to
Buy A ByTowne Mask

Stay safe in style! These masks are black with a single ByTowne logo printed on the right cheek. They're a cotton & polyester blend, durable and washable (gentle cycle). Plus, they have adjustable thingamajigs on the ear loops!

You can buy your own ByTowne mask(s) for just $9.73 ea. (with HST, that's $11.00).
Multiply that by the number of masks you want and E-transfer the funds to me at We can mail your mask(s) to you (please add $2 for postage), or we can make arrangements for 'curbside pickup' at the cinema (no charge).

But wait! There's more!
If you buy 10 "Admit One Member" vouchers (at $8 each, that comes to $80, tax included), I'll throw in a mask – and postage -- for FREE.
Thanks for reading -- that was a lot to take in, I know.
Although many of the details aren't there yet, I wanted to introduce you to the ByTowne's 'new normal' now. You'll be hearing more from me again in the next weeks, and – who knows? – maybe soon we'll all get good news from the Ontario health authorities.
Perhaps movies can get back into cinemas again, where they belong.

Stay safe!
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ByTowne Cinema · 325 Rideau St. · ·