Cinema hall operators have closed their doors once again, following the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. According to Variety, a nationwide state of emergency was announced early on Tuesday (local time) on behalf of King Al-Sultan Abdullah.
As per a palace statement quoted by Variety, the emergency could last until August 1, depending on the state of coronavirus infections. Chains of movie theatres including Golden Screen Cinemas, TGV, and others shared on their social media accounts that the theatres will be shut from Wednesday (local time) and that the cost of the pre-paid tickets will be reimbursed. “The effect is to put us back to where we were at the beginning of November. This time, we expect the MCO to be renewed for two weeks at a time for some months,” Irving Chee, GM at GSC, told Variety.
Malaysia has been under lockdown, known as a Movement Control Order, of varying degrees since March 18, as an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus. With case numbers once again rising steeply, in a second wave that began at the beginning of October. The country has seen 32,500 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data, and 249 attributable deaths.
“The closure is a cohesive decision undertaken by the industry in light of the recent conditional MCO implementation, which requires cinemas to remain closed, coupled with a lack of new movie releases in the short term which are essential to attract moviegoers back to the cinemas.”
Cinemas in Malaysia were previously closed for more than three months from March 18- July 1 2020 but reopened in July. Attendance numbers, however, have not picked up, and local reports suggest that box office for the year to date is running at 90% below normal levels.
After the relaxation of social conditions in December, the positive coronavirus cases in Malaysia have jumped as the country on Monday (local time) recorded 2,232 new confirmed cases, bringing the active total to 28,500 and the running total since early 2020 to 135,000 with 550 deaths.
(With inputs from agencies)
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