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Hopes silver screens can be lit up again soon

Jason Boken / Khmer Times Share:
Lights out at City Malls Legend Cinema but safety measures have already been put in place as staff await re-opening. KT/Jason Boken

Ministry of Health (MoH) officials inspected cinemas around Phnom Penh to check the safety measures put in place, raising hopes they can soon re-open to the public and earn revenue.

Movie theatres across the Kingdom were closed down on March 17 to try to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Minister Mam Bun Heng issued a statement in March saying that Tourism Minister Thong Khon and relevant authorities should carry out an order by Prime Minister Hun Sen to close all KTVs and cinemas in the Kingdom because they bring people into too much proximity.

Now almost five months later the Ministry of Health has been out checking the safety measurements put in place by Legend Cinema and Major Cineplexes in order to seek re-opening safely.

Some of the precautions put into place include social distancing markers throughout the cinema where people will queue, keeping social distancing in the venues through limited capacity, temperature checks at entrances, sanitisation stations, the wearing of safety masks and safety screens between ticket sellers and customers.

With cinemas being closed so long there has been no revenue coming in for these businesses and it has worried staff members. A member of staff for one of the movie theatres said: “We have been closed now for months and although I have been into work setting up all of the safety measures for when we do re-open, I have also been seriously worried about the future of my job. I am just so happy that things seem to now be going in the right direction. I hope that we can re-open very soon.”

Another person hoping cinemas open up soon is Westec Media’s General Manager Phany Lao.

Westec Media is Cambodia’s first movie distributor and has been established within the Kingdom since 2011. It distributes movies to its clients, Legend Cinema and Major Cineplex, and is confident that people will be keen to get back to watching films on the big screen as soon as the curtains are drawn back again.

There will be a number of movies to see including titles such as Mulan, The Conjuring 3, A Quiet Place II as well as Asian titles including Low Season and Peninsula.

Lao said: “I think during the first few weeks people may be a little cautious, but look at the restaurants and malls: People seem to be getting back to normal. When people see the precautions put into place they will feel more at ease. The movie theatres will also be pushing for more contactless payments using membership cards and contactless payment apps.”

Movie theatres have already got everything in place ready to open. One has even opened the food and beverage section awaiting the thumbs up from the Ministry of Health.

With so many movies waiting in the pipeline and popcorn ready to pop, many hope it won’t be long before the screens re-open.

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