Minions usher French cinema-goers back after COVID-19 Photograph:( Reuters )
Stuffed toy versions of the yellow, pill-shaped characters were deployed at the MK2 cinema.
French movie fans ventured back into cinemas on Monday for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown, helped by a new safety feature: minions placed at intervals in the seats to ensure social distancing is observed.
Stuffed toy versions of the yellow, pill-shaped characters were deployed at the MK2 cinema in the south of Paris for a showing of the 2015 movie 'Minions' - a spin-off from the 'Despicable Me' franchise that made them famous.
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The minions, dressed in their trademark goggles and dungarees, were placed strategically around the auditorium to enforce a rule that viewers leave at least one place free between them and their neighbours.
The reopening of cinemas across France on Monday as part of a phased relaxation of the lockdown measures that were imposed in March to curb the spread of COVID-19.
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Nathanael Karmitz, chairman of the MK2 cinema chain, said the numbers showing up for matinee screenings on Monday showed how much the French public had missed going to the movies.
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"They love cinema," he said. "It`s much less risky spending two hours in a cinema than travelling on public transport or taking a train." Monday's cinema outing was not the first time the Minions have been enlisted to help keep people safe from COVID-19.
They featured in a public service announcement, developed in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO), encouraging people to wash their hands and keep their distance to stay safe.