As if cinemas are anyone’s priority right now, the Jakarta provincial government says it’s preparing to reopen cinemas in the capital with strict health protocols, among which includes a prohibition to munch on popcorn during the movie.
In a press conference this morning, Governor Anies Baswedan and Indonesia COVID-19 task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said that plans are in place to reopen cinemas in Jakarta — and eventually throughout Indonesia — “in the near future.”
Justifying the planned reopening, Anies said the provincial government and health authorities have conducted comprehensive studies on the matter, including by taking examples from other countries where cinemas have reopened amid the pandemic.
“In South Korea, even during the pandemic, including at the peak of their pandemic, cinemas were not closed,” Anies said.
He did not make any comparisons between Indonesia and South Korea’s handling of the pandemic.
Wiku offered an alternative justification for the planned reopening.
“We must say that cinemas have important characteristics. Especially in giving hope to the people. The people’s immunity may rise from happiness,” he said.
When cinemas in Jakarta reopen, only those between 12 and 60 will be allowed entry. Upon passing temperature screenings, cinema goers will be seated at least 1 meter apart. Masks are required the whole time inside the cinema, meaning no one will be allowed to eat or drink anything during the movie, including popcorn.
Online ticketing will be mandatory, and the system will limit theater attendance at 50 percent. Those with pre-existing health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular issues will be discouraged to enter cinemas.
“If [cinemas] violate health protocols, then we will simply shut the place of business,” Anies said.
The Indonesian Cinema Management Association (GPBSI) announced in early July that cinema chains throughout the country will simultaneously reopen starting July 29. That was delayed over rising health concerns and spikes in coronavirus infections in the country.
Cinemas across the country have been closed since March, following confirmation of the first COVID-19 cases. Some of Indonesia’s largest cinema chains in Indonesia said that they have been conducting regular maintenance and cleaning, such as spraying disinfectant liquids, during the closures.
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