Coronavirus: Chinese cinemas begin to reopen after closures

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Chinese cinemas are reopening after being closed for six months to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The China Film Administration said the screens in “low risk” areas could reopen from today.

Since most of the country is now classified as low risk, it should essentially be a reopening nationwide.

Chinese cinemas have been hit hard by the closure that started in January, many of which have already closed.

Cinemas that reopen will be subject to a set of strict rules, including screenings limited to 30% of capacity and the number of films screened in a hall capped at 50% of its previous volume.

Customers’ temperatures will be taken and masks must be worn at all times by spectators and theater staff.

Tickets must be purchased online and separate customer groups must be seated at least 1 meter apart.

Under these restrictions, no food or drink will be allowed in theaters. This will be another particularly important blow since it has long represented a significant share of the industry’s revenues.

China, which was the first epicenter of the pandemic, is the world’s second largest cinema market, with the country’s box offices grossing $ 9.2 billion (£ 7.4 billion) in 2019.

But unsurprisingly, these numbers are expected to drop sharply due to movie closings and domestic and Hollywood movie releases canceled or posted online.

Earlier this month, China’s biggest cinema owner, Wanda Film, warned it would switch at a loss for the first six months of the year.

The company, which owns more than 600 theaters across the country, said it expected a loss of up to 1.6 billion yuan (£ 182 million), compared with a profit of 524 million. yuan at the same time last year.

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