Date: May 09, 2020
Moviegoers in Lebanon are wondering when Cinemas will re-open their theaters and what are the measurements that will be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
First of all, legally, and following the government plan for business resumption, Cinemas across Lebanon can start resuming their businesses starting June 8th.
However, many difficulties will prevent several Cinema Circuits, if not all, to open again during June.
Yesterday, 'Moviegoers ME' had an Interview, over the phone, with one of the Decision Makers in the Cinematic Industry in Lebanon, Mr. Bassam Eid, who gave us some quick updates on what's happening. Here's a summary:
1- The lack of cinematic content is one of the main problems that won't help Cinemas to re-open their doors, especially during the period between June and July where not so many movies or blockbusters are releasing.
2- The Economic situation in the country is not in favor of both Exhibitors and Distributors, specially that the Lira value dropped almost 3 times in front of Dollar (1$=1,500L.L. before, 1$=4,200L.L. now).
3- The COVID-19 is not fully contained and many cases are still appearing and that will create a fear of going to Cinema Theaters.
4- The period between June and July will be an extension for Educational Systems (Schools & Universities) where students will be preparing for Final Exams and finalizing their current year.
In conclusion, Cinemas are not expected to open again until the beginning of August.
Second of all, Cinemas in Lebanon must be following the below procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Seat Separation Policies, each group of moviegoers leave empty seats to their sides.
- Keep at least 30 minutes between each session to be able to increase the cleaning process.
- Ensure to conduct a sterilizing process for each theater on a weekly basis using sterilizing steamers.
- A “disinfectant mist” of aerosol is recommended when cleaning theaters.
Staff related precautions:
- Staff should be trained on all the preparatory and preventive hygiene measures required to limit the spread of infection.
- Ensure that employees are wearing gloves and face-masks and frequently hand-washing.
- Minimizing staff in periods where they are not required.
- Roll visible signage at cinema entrances, counters and W.C. with basic hygiene guidelines.
- Install hand sanitizer dispensers on each counter at the box office and concession in addition to each theater entrance.
Customer related precautions:
- Encourage customers to follow the guidelines laid down by the World Health Organization. (Click HERE for Guidelines)
Office related precautions:
- Follow the guidelines from the World Health Organization to prevent COVID-19 at the workplace. (Click HERE for Guidelines)
Finally, let’s wait and hope that cinemas will be back as soon as possible, especially that all of us are missing the big screen and most important the Popcorn. We’ll keep you posted about the latest updates whenever we receive it.
Georges J. Asmar
Co-founder of Moviegoers ME