Shanghai relaxes restrictions on cinema audiences


Shanghai relaxes restrictions on cinema audiences
Audience members wear masks at local cinema.

Local cinemas can operate up to half of capacity from Friday after the current 30 percent limit amid the COVID-19 pandemic was relaxed.

Cinemas in Shanghai as well as those in Chengdu in northwest Sichuan Province said on Tuesday that they had received a notice from the authority.

The two-hour restriction on viewing periods will also be lifted.

According to the notice released to cinemas in Chengdu, drinks will be sold at cinemas, but moviegoers will not be allowed to eat or drink during screenings.

Cinemas across China reopened on July 20 after the nation’s film administration announced the decision following a closure of almost six months due to the pandemic.

A set of measures were launched to ensure the safety of the moviegoers. Masks had to be worn at all times, cinemas could only sell 30 percent of seats, and popcorn and other snacks and drinks would not be allowed.

The restrictions did not put off movie lovers who had been waiting to head back to the cinema.

The marketing director of a company with over 30 cinemas in Shanghai said that the 30 percent restriction could hardly meet the rising demand of audiences.

“The relaxed restriction will mainly benefit cinemas with small-size screening halls,” said the director, who asked to be anonymous.

Shanghai relaxes restrictions on cinema audiences
Movie lovers visit the Cathay Theater in downtown Huangpu District which reopened in July.

“Most of the halls with fewer than 100 seats are fully packed under the 30 percent restriction after the reopening,” he said. The number of moviegoers is still gradually increasing, he added.

Larger halls will also be able to receive more viewers and attract the companies who need to book the whole seats in a single hall for various events among the employees, he said.

The lift of the two-hour restriction will offer better watching experiences for the audiences as well as allow cinemas to arrange more movies every day, according to the director.

Currently, cinemas must suspend the screening by five minutes every two hours in the middle of the films. Most audiences choose to stay on the seats and wait for the screening to resume, he said. “The suspension has actually prolonged the length of each film,” said he.

The films scheduled from Friday include the 152-minute 4K repaired version of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer‘s Stone” and the 147-minute “The Eight Hundred.” Both films are longer than two hours. The online ticket sales for the two films have reached nearly 7 million yuan (US$1 million).

According to the new regulation, cinemas must extend the intervals between films for sufficient ventilation and disinfection with the loosened restriction on the operating capacity. Drinks and snacks will still be prohibited in the halls.

Source: SHINE

Editor: Shen Ke

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