KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — Malaysian film distributors and theatre owners have requested the government to consider reopening movie theatres across the country for individuals who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination.
Lotus Fivestar Cinemas Sdn Bhd general manager Dr Sai Suthan said reopening the cinemas will ensure those involved in the industry continue to survive as well as help Malaysians manage their emotional well-being.
“Theatres should be open with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) for those fully vaccinated individuals especially for their mental well-being,” he told Bernama.
He also stressed that so far no COVID-19 clusters of cases have been linked to any cinemas in Malaysia even when the cinemas were reopened in March this year.
Sai noted that since the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) last year, the company had recorded RM15 million in losses.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government would ease the restrictions in the social sector for fully vaccinated individuals residing in states under Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (PPN) from Aug 10.
He said the restrictions being lifted were the ban on dine-ins, inter-district travel, sports and recreational activities without physical contact as well as tourism activities within the same state involving homestays and hotels, among others.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) said findings from the Big Picture Survey indicated that Malaysians of all ages stated that going to the cinemas improves their state of emotional well-being.
MAFE said key findings from over 10,000 respondents concluded that 80 per cent agreed that visiting the cinemas helps to reduce their stress and anxiety level, 75 per cent said it helps in reducing the feeling of isolation while 75 per cent noted that watching movies at the cinemas helps them to reconnect with family and friends.
It also indicated that 82 per cent of the respondents would feel safer returning to the cinemas only if all the staff, as well as patrons, were fully vaccinated.