24 Apr 2018

Hawera Cinemas bans pyjamas, dirty boots

12:20 pm on 24 April 2018

A Taranaki cinema's ban on wearing pyjamas, onesies and dirty boots to screenings - and the public support and opposition to the move - has made global headlines.

The Hawera Cinema, where pyjamas are no longer allowed.

The Hawera Cinema, where pyjamas are no longer allowed. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Hawera Cinemas said it had seen an increasing number of patrons attending in nightwear in recent months.

It announced the ban in a Facebook post, adding the clothes did not encourage the right "vibe".

The dress code at the cinema has sparked heated debate on social media and has made global news headlines.

Cinema manager Kirsty Bourke told RNZ the cinema had a long-standing ban on dirty gumboots, but the new ban on sleepwear began after she noticed more people turning up in pyjamas and bedroom attire.

"We believe that we have a lovely theatre that has a nice atmosphere and we don't think that that kind of attire is appropriate and we believe it lowers the tone of the whole complex."

Hawera cinema manager Kirsty Bourke

Hawera cinema manager Kirsty Bourke Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Ms Bourke said she has been overwhelmed by reaction to the "friendly reminder" about the dresscode posted on the cinema's Facebook page.

She said most feedback had been in favour of the ban.

Judging by the Facebook debate, many people support the dress code - and wouldn't have thought of violating it in the first place.

"It's amazing people need to be told to get dressed before going out. Super market needs the same notice," one Facebook commenter said.

Not everyone agreed, however. Some argued the cinema should mind its own business and let their audience show up in whatever they choose.

"Wow didn't know you guys were the fashion police," said one comment, "I'm not a wearing pjs in public girl but I don't see how others wearing pjs out affects anyone else so I can't see the reason for this rule," said another.

Regardless of the social media debate, the cinema itself had not received any complaints since the policy was announced at the weekend.

However, Ms Bourke warned that "if customers turn up in their pyjamas, we will refuse entry".

She was confident the change would not be bad for business.

"We believe we will lose more customers by not adopting a dress code," she said.

"Restaurants and clubs have always had dress codes so why not cinemas?"