Israel opens floating cinema for coronavirus-safe viewing

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Movie-goers boarded boats floating on the shimmering waters of a Tel Aviv lake on Thursday for a test screening at Israel’s first “sail-in” cinema.

With indoor film theatres shut because of coronavirus restrictions, Tel Aviv municipality launched the floating cinema to allow residents to catch a movie in the open air while still keeping a safe distance from each other.

The floating cinema provided seating aboard 70 pedal and rowing boats set in the Yarkon Park lake, two metres apart to maintain social distancing, Tel Aviv municipality said.

Two films will be screened every evening during the last week of August, the municipality said. Thursday’s screening, attended by about 200 people, was a pilot event which featured the family comedy “Paddington 2”.

“It was an amazing evening. Great to see a cinema corona-style. We had an amazing time. The whole family enjoyed it. Good move Tel Aviv,” said Galia Resnick, 42, a high-tech worker from Tel Aviv.

After successfully containing the coronavirus in May, Israel has been grappling with a second wave of infections and has reported almost 100,000 COVID-19 cases in total and 795 deaths.

Reporting by Rami Amichay and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Giles Elgood and Lisa Shumaker