Here’s some very encouraging news about COVID safety in movie theatres based on a recent German study. Brought to our attention in a Celluloid Junkie piece written by Patrick von Sychowski and posted last week, it begins:
“A study by a consortium led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (Fraunhofer IBP) in Germany has found that regular cinema ventilation is enough to ensure that COVID-19 infection risk is minimal in a typical theatrical environment. The ‘CineCov’ project set out to test the dispersion of aerosol particles in an actual cinema auditorium through rigorous and comprehensive measurements and testing. The findings add scientific credence to questions being asked as to why cinemas in Bavaria and elsewhere are singled out for harsher COVID restrictions compared to restaurants and other hospitality venues. No spread of COVID has, to date, been traced to a cinema anywhere in the world and good ventilation is one of many reasons for this.
“The ‘CineCov’ project is funded by Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) on the initiative of Germany’s Head Organisation of the Film Industry (SPIO), with several partners involved. With a new wave of COVID infections in Germany and elsewhere, the aim is to understand what constitutes a safe indoor environment and how risk is minimised. Together with the University of the Federal Armed Forces and other partners a test site was set up inside the Neues Rex cinema in Munich, where they carried out comprehensive measurements and evaluated different scenarios by means of physical simulation. The findings were that any infectious aerosols potentially released by the audience are quickly removed by the cinema’s existing ventilation system.
“‘The air heated by people rises upward. Especially the so-called displacement ventilation typical for movie theaters makes use of this effect,’ says Professor Dr. Gunnar Grün, project manager of CineCov, in a summary of the initial findings. ‘This has the decisive advantage that aerosols and the viruses they contain are effectively removed.’ These findings are backed up by data from Germany’s contact tracing Luca app, which has had a very low percentage (just 1.7%) of ‘pings’ from cinema visits.”
Read the full article here.