IT'S ALMOST action time for cinemas and theatres, which have been given the green light to open from July 1 as COVID-19 restrictions are eased across the state.
But, Gunnedah will have to wait a bit longer. The town's cultural precinct is coming back to life with the art gallery and visitor centre back open, but the Civic Cinema will not reopen in July.
Gunnedah Shire Council's cultural precinct leader Lauren Mackley said the theatre is having a full refurbishment during the closure.
"The live entertainment industry has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we hope to see a resurgence in this space, and have recommended scheduling live theatre performances from October," she said.
Tamworth's Forum 6 Cinemas is aiming for a July opening, and Manager Grant Lee said he's excited to finally have a date to work towards.
"A cinema is part of a town and it means we get to experience what city people experience in the country, and cinemas have been part of Tamworth so for many years," he said.
Mr Lee said the cinema is "definitely" okay to open with social distancing in place, and has a new booking system to form a "bubble" of empty seats around each allocated seat.
One problem the cinema is still working through is a lack of new-release movies to play on the big screen.
Mr Lee said the plan is to play some older movies and try and get a program up and running for Tamworth's only movie theatre, until new films launch later in the year.
The state government announcement at the weekend also means theatres can reopen from July 1, but details surrounding when and how Tamworth's Capitol Theatre might reopen are still being worked out by Tamworth Regional Council.
The Playhouse Hotel in Barraba is not planning for any future shows at this stage. A spokesman told the Leader their much-loved movie Sundays could make a comeback later in the year.
The Belgrave Twin Cinema in Armidale announced their plans on social media, indicating they could reopen for weekend screenings from Friday, July 3.
"We're very aware of the school holidays and the need for some activities over those weeks. We're planning a mix of something for kids and adults that was showing pre-closure, as well as bringing back some Disney classics at reduced ticket prices," the post read.
When cinemas do open their doors across the region, patrons will be back watching films on the big screen for the first time since movie theatres were forced to close in late March, due to the coronavirus pandemic.