Movie exhibitors urge gov’t to allow them to reopen  

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Caribbean Cinemas and MovieTowne say they are “extremely disappointed” with the latest government order to extend the closure of movie theatres in the country until December 31, 2020.

“This is going on nine months creating an unprecedented economic hardship for these businesses and their employees,” a joint statement from Caribbean Cinemas and MovieTowne noted.

The statement noted that “cinemas are ready to re-open with strict safety COVID-19 protocols, as per government requirements, and their respective employees are anxious to return to serve their patrons in a safe environment.”

The movie exhibitors said that many jobs in the cinema industry in Guyana have been lost due to the continued closure and chided the government for its decision.

They contended that international studies have shown that cinemas continue to be areas of low risk of transmission for COVID-19, noting that movie theatres are an indoor business where consumers engage in a sedentary and quiet activity.

“Specifically, guests sit in a theatre, all facing the same direction, wearing face masks, and discouraged from speaking. Most importantly no outbreaks have been linked to movie theatres anywhere on the globe,” the statement noted.

Cinemas in Guyana have been closed since March 26, 2020, due to the COVID-19 virus but the exhibitors noted that all other countries in the West Indies and the Caribbean have authorized cinemas to reopen except Guyana.

See the full statement below:

MOVIE EXHIBITORS IN GUYANA EXPRESS THEIR DISAPPOINTMENT WITH THE GOVERNMENT

Caribbean Cinemas and MovieTowne are extremely disappointed with the latest government order to extend the closure of movie theatres in the country until December 31, 2020. This is going on 9 months creating an unprecedented economic hardship for these businesses and their employees.

The cinemas have been closed since March 26, 2020, due to the COVID-19 virus.  Even though all other countries in the West Indies and the Caribbean have authorized cinemas to be open, in Guyana the Government has not allowed theatres to re-open.

International studies have shown that cinemas continue to be areas of low risk of transmission. Movie theatres are an indoor business where consumers engage in a sedentary and quiet activity. Specifically, guests sit in a theatre, all facing the same direction, wearing face masks, and discouraged from speaking. Most importantly no outbreaks have been linked to movie theatres anywhere on the globe.

“In a setting where we’re not talking, we’re just passively breathing and wearing masks, it might be a safer bet than a noisy, crowded bar,” Jade Flinn, a faculty member at Johns Hopkins Medicine who trains nurses at its biocontainment unit, told Quartz Newspaper. “At movie theatres, if you’re not eating popcorn, you’re just sitting there with your mask on.”

Movie theatres including Caribbean Cinemas and MovieTowne have implemented CinemaSafe, a program launched by NATO (National Association of Theatre Owners), with health and safety protocols based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). These protocols were developed over several months by a team of industry experts in consultation with leading epidemiologists to support a safe return to movie theatres.

The CinemaSafe health and safety protocols include:

  • Mask Required – All employees and patrons must wear a face covering or mask, except when eating.
  • Social distancing – Appropriate physical distancing must always be maintained between patrons, except members of the same household or those who attend together.
  • Reduced capacity – Auditorium capacity reduced to 50% to create social distancing by leaving seats and empty rows between parties.
  • Modified Concessions and Mobile Ticketing – Minimize cash transactions and encourage credit cards or contactless payment whenever possible.
  • Frequent Hand-Washing – Employees are trained on hand-hygiene practices and are required to wash hands frequently at easily-accessible facilities.
  • Hand Sanitizer – Hand Sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol will be liberally placed in easily accessible public areas.
  • Enhanced Cleaning – Auditoriums would be carefully disinfected between movie screenings.
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