COVID-19 statement - BFI Southbank

BFI Southbank reopening

We’re looking forward to seeing you again at BFI Southbank.

Keeping you safe at BFI Southbank

From 19 July at BFI Southbank our existing safety measures will remain in place, with a couple of small changes:

  • BFI staff will continue to wear face masks and we expect you to do so too, unless you are exempt
  • We’ll continue to operate at reduced capacity in July and August with unallocated seating. Please continue to book your tickets in advance
  • Our enhanced cleaning programme remains in place and hand sanitiser will be available throughout the building
  • The air flow in the screens is fully fresh and not recycled
  • We’ll be maintaining our current exit and entrance routes - we’ll email ticket holders to let you know where to come and the info will also be on your ticket
  • BFI Bar & Kitchen will re-open for bookings and walk-ins from August, and BFI Riverfront remains open as usual
  • Only ticket holders (including BFI Reuben Library and Mediatheque) and customers of the Shop or BFI Bar & Kitchen will be able to enter the building
  • We strongly recommend that you continue to use the NHS Track and Trace app

Please continue to show consideration and kindness to others and be respectful of personal space and boundaries. Please leave space between you and others in the screens and around the building.

We’re really looking forward to seeing you at BFI Southbank this summer.

FAQs

Changes to July and August seat booking

All July and August screenings have unallocated seating and we will operate with reduced capacities and will continue to review this over the coming months.

Screenings will start at their advertised times and latecomers will not be admitted. Face masks are strongly recommended - please see your eticket for further entry information.

When will BFI Southbank re-open?

BFI Southbank reopened on 17 May.

We have undertaken a highly detailed project that has focused on ensuring the health and safety of our staff and visitors in order to open in the most responsible way possible. This project, which will continue to respond to ongoing government guidance, industry intelligence and audience feedback, includes staff training and liaising with our unions, extensive risk assessments and operational considerations such as maintaining social distancing throughout the venue (including the auditorium/cinemas), toilet and sanitation facilities, air conditioning, frequency of deep cleans, ticket purchasing, scheduling and staggering of screenings, dealing with family groups, vulnerable people and programming among many other factors.

We've been extremely touched by the amount of love, support and goodwill we’ve had from audiences, partners, supporters and filmmakers during these unprecedented times. We’re truly humbled, and thank you.

Will I have to check in to the venue?

We would advise that you register your visit either using our NHS QR on the NHS Covid-19 app in order to assist with Test & Trace. Download the NHS Covid app.

What social distancing measures will be put in place across the venue?

Access to the building will be through advance booking only, enabling staff to control the number of people in the building at any one time. One-way systems and additional entry and exit points for the building will also remain in place, clearly signposted and managed by staff.

Please continue to show consideration and kindness to others and be respectful of personal space and boundaries. Please leave space between you and others in the screens and around the building.

Can I come to the BFI Southbank without booking in advance?

No, access to the building will be through advance online or phone booking only. Our phone lines are open from 11.30am-8.30pm daily on 0207 928 3232. Please note screenings will come off sale 45 minutes before their advertised start time to allow us to open the cinema doors safely and promptly. There is no Box Office counter in operation at present so tickets cannot be purchased or collected in the venue. To book Access Tickets or ask any questions about access, please call our dedicated box office number on 020 7960 2102. For all other enquiries, please email us at box.office@bfi.org.uk. This will enable our staff to control the number of people in the building at any one time. This includes cinema screenings and the use of the BFI Reuben Library and BFI Mediatheque.

What social distancing measures will be put in place in the cinemas?

All cinemas will be operated with social distancing measures in place and a reduced capacity. Tickets must be booked in advance, and will be allocated with 1m+ social distancing between seats. Aside from a small number of paired seats in NFT1 and The Studio, household bubbles will not be able to sit directly next to one another, but will be allocated the nearest available socially distant seat. There will be dedicated entry and exit points for all screens (NFT1, NFT2, NFT3 and Studio) from outside the venue, with socially distant queues in operation prior to screenings.

There will be onscreen information and/or introductions from BFI staff to all screenings, reinforcing health and safety information and reassuring customers about social distancing, toilet facilities, and entrances and exits. All screenings will be monitored throughout by a member of staff to ensure social distancing and the wearing of face coverings is adhered to. BFI Southbank’s no latecomers rule will be strictly enforced with screenings starting at the advertised time.

To mitigate against the reduced capacity of our screens, and make sure that audiences have a number of screening options, we will introduce additional daytime screenings across the 4 cinemas that will be in use in May (NFT1, NFT2, NFT3 and Studio).

Is the BFI shop open?

The BFI Shop will operate reduced opening hours for the short –term and will be open Friday to Sunday from Midday. Please see our shop page for further details. Our online Shop is open as usual. If you have any questions about your order, please contact bfishop@bfi.org.uk. BFI Player can also be enjoyed from your own home.

Is the BFI Reuben Library open?

The BFI Reuben Library is open Tuesday – Saturday 12:00-16:00 by appointment only:

  • Pre-booking is essential online, for timed entry.
  • It is strongly recommended that all material be requested in advance of your visit, including material that was previously open access – request online here.
  • Regular cleaning during the day of the spaces/equipment used, and deep cleaning overnight.
  • Limited scanning and computer access.
  • The Digital Library on Demand service is operational; researchers unable to visit the library can request digital copies of material via this online form for a small fee.

Is the BFI Mediatheque open?

The BFI Mediatheque is open Tuesday – Sunday 12:00-17:30 by appointment only

  • Pre-booking is essential online, for timed entry during one of two sessions. Session 1 will run 12:00 – 14:30, session 2 will run 15:00 – 17:30.
  • Reduced capacity will be in place, with a total capacity of 10 research spaces.
  • Regular cleaning during the day of the spaces/equipment used, including between the two timed sessions, and deep cleaning overnight.

Are the restaurants - BFI Riverfront and BFI Bar & Kitchen - open?

BFI Riverfront is open daily and the Bar & Kitchen will reopen on August 2.

Will you be asking customers to wear facemasks? Or providing them?

We strongly recommend that all customers who are able to wear masks to do so on entry to the venue (but will not be providing masks to members of the public). Any customer who has an accessibility need or medical reason that prohibits them from wearing a mask will be exempt from this.

Will staff have PPE?

Customer-facing staff will be provided with masks. Gloves, hand gel and sanitising wipes will also be provided to staff, with some front of house staff (for example those checking e-tickets) being provided with visors to enable lip reading. Staff temperatures will also be checked on arrival to the venue.

Will you be taking part in the test and trace programme?

We will be taking contact details for all bookings for the venue. If we are alerted by an individual or the NHS test and trace team that someone has tested positive for Covid-19 then customers and staff will be alerted in line with test and trace procedures. In addition, there are QR codes on all entrances in order for customers to be able to check in on the NHS App.

What cleaning protocols are you using in the venue?

There is an enhanced cleaning regime in place at the venue. This includes cleaning in-between screenings, in between sessions in the BFI Reuben Library and BFI Mediatheque, and multiple daily touch point cleaning.

Will the public toilets throughout the venue be open. And if so, how will their use be managed?

All public toilets within the building will be open for customer use. An enhanced cleaning regime will be in operation to ensure safety.

Will hand sanitiser be provided?

There will be multiple hand sanitiser stations available throughout the building.

Do the auditoriums have air con? Have you factored this in a potential risk to Covid-19 spreading further?

All auditoriums have a full fresh air system and the air is not recirculated.

Will screenings be monitored to ensure people are abiding by social distancing rules?

Yes. Staff are always available in the auditorium to assist customers and will, in addition, monitor social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.

Can I turn up without buying a ticket in advance?

No, access to the building will be through advance online or phone booking only. Our phone lines are open from 11.30am-8.30pm daily on 0207 928 3232. Please note screenings will come off sale 45 minutes before their advertised start time to allow us to open the cinema doors safely and promptly. There is no Box Office counter in operation at present so tickets cannot be purchased or collected in the venue. Tickets will be either posted (where time allows) or emailed as e-tickets. Entry to screens will come via newly designated points outside the building in order to restrict access to the venue to those who have pre-booked only.

What support will there be for those with access requirements?

Accessible screenings, including those with subtitles and audio description, will be available. While we will be unable to provide some physical contact support methods previously offered, we are working on Covid-secure approaches to accessibility support for example, some front of house staff (including those checking e-tickets) being provided with visors to enable lip reading. We recommend that anyone who requires support should contact the box office's dedicated access line ahead of their visit, so that we can make additional safety arrangements and provisions (including accessible seating).

What happens if you are unable to reopen in May?

If the government introduce additional restrictions from 17 May that prevent us from reopening, all customers who have purchased advance tickets will be contacted and offered refunds or exchanges.