5 Aug – The Malaysian Film Exhibitors Association (MAFE) is requesting the government to consider reopening cinemas to audiences who have already completed the two doses of the vaccine.
MAFE Chairman Tan Sri Datuk Mohd Ghazali Datuk Mohd Seth shared that the association has already applied for such consideration, following Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's announcement that the government is currently deliberating on easing the flexibility of recreational activities for those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
"The cinema's standard operating procedures (SOP) are among the most stringent, we do not even allow audiences to roam around the cinema. Viewers are also required to always wear face masks at all times, in addition to ensuring physical confinement and seating," he said. "By allowing already vaccinated customers to the cinema, we are confident the cinema will be a safe place to find relaxation and entertainment. We believe it is very important for the recovery of the mental health of the people in the country."
Mohd Ghazali lamented that cinemas had always been the first one to experience the impact of the pandemic, with it being the last business to be allowed to operate and the first one to close when the number of cases arise.
"So far, there has never been a cinema cluster, but operators have been instructed to close cinemas for more than 200 days since last year. It resulted in a loss of more than RM500 million in total and a 90 percent drop in revenue from year to year. This year, cinemas have been closed for more than 150 days, resulting in cinema operators having to bear huge losses."
He continued that the involuntary closure left the cinema industry paralysed and the livelihoods of its 20,000 workers threatened. MBO Cinemas has already had to shut its operation due to the situation.
"There is no reason for the cinema industry to continue to be closed, while sports and social activities are reopened. MAFE would like to recommend the government to discuss with the relevant organisations to work together in reopening cinemas safely under the new post -vaccination SOP," he said.