With B.C. movie theatres closed, Rio Theatre in Vancouver will reopen as a sports bar | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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With B.C. movie theatres closed, Rio Theatre in Vancouver will reopen as a sports bar

FILE PHOTO - A person wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past the independent Rio Theatre, displaying a COVID-19 related message on its marquee, in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. The Rio Theatre in Vancouver says it's reopening as a sports bar showing games on the big screen, a move that would work around provincial health orders that allow bars to stay open but theatres to close.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
January 20, 2021 - 1:49 PM

One of Vancouver's independent movie houses is reclassifying itself as a sports bar in an attempted workaround of provincial health orders that forced cinemas to close.

The Rio Theatre says that as of Saturday it will operate as a bar that shows sporting events on the big screen, part of a business pivot is says would comply with British Columbia's COVID-19 guidelines.

Operators of the Rio have protested B.C.'s pandemic guidelines after being told in November they could no longer stay open.

Over the Christmas holiday, the theatre used its marquee to question the decision to close theatres while malls could operate.

Movie theatres in most parts of the country have been forced to close under local guidelines.

Some indie theatres have continued to operate concession stands to stay in business, while the owners of Ottawa's ByTowne Cinema chose to permanently close in December.

The Rio says it will take a different road.

"Screw the arts. We're a sports bar now," read a marquee outside the theatre posted Tuesday on Rio's social media channels.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2021
The Canadian Press

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