Covid-19: Cinema halls to reopen in Pakistan on Sep 11
Islamabad/Karachi: Cinema halls and multiplexes will reopen in Pakistan on September 11 after remaining closed for almost six months in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that claimed 6,382 lives in the country.
Pakistan’s COVID-19 tally reached 298,509 on Sunday after 484 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the health ministry.
Two more patients died overnight, taking the COVID-19 death toll to 6,382, it said.
The cinema halls and multiplexes will screen two of Hollywood’s latest releases — Mulan and Tenet — from September 11 and 18, with film producers, cinema owners and distributors expecting a warm response from the public.
Prominent film distributor Nadeem Mandviwala said the cinema business in Pakistan was already in trouble after the ban on exhibiting Indian films since last year and the COVID-19 pandemic had left many jobless and the industry in shambles.
“The problem began after the ban on Bollywood films and after COVID-19 there has been no production of local films and even the ones that did manage to release before the pandemic, failed to perform well,” he said.
Mandiwala said it was time that the government support the industry as even after cinema halls and multiplexes are reopen, they can’t operate to full strength as they have to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs).
He said the industry people are in talks with the government over some of the SOPs which would affect the screening process. “One of the guidelines require removal of carpets from the cinema halls. How can we do that? It will affect the sound system,” he said.
Stakeholders are hoping that the opening of cinemas will provide some relief to them after the overbearing financial losses.
HKC entertainment, a prominent distribution company, said once cinema halls reopen, it would allow local producers to start work again.
A cinema owner said all SOPs will be maintained within and outside the cinema halls. “Cinema owners and employees have been asked to follow all regulations and there will be minimum seats available in each cinema hall with a maximum distance between the viewers,” he said.
He said the ticket sales for Mulan and Tenet will decide the fate for films to come.
Meanwhile, the health ministry said 285,898 people have recovered so far from the disease and there are just 6,229 active patients in the country.
Sindh reported the maximum number of 130,483 cases, followed by Punjab at 97,166, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa at 36,591, Islamabad at 15,734, Balochistan at 13,229, Gilgit-Baltistan at 2,979 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir at 2,327, it said.
The authorities have performed a total of 2,757,709 tests including 25,384 in the last 24 hours.