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With B.C. movie theatres closed, Rio indie cinema says it will reopen as a sports bar

Rio cinema now a sports bar

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 it 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.



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