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CULTURE | 14-01-2021 23:19

Government set to authorise re-opening of the cinemas

Culture Ministry officials agree coronavirus protocols with business chambers, unions and film industry staff to allow the re-opening of cinemas.

The national government has reached an agreement with the business chambers, unions and film industry on coronavirus protocols to enable the re-opening of cinemas.

Having put together a sanitary protocol that each movie theatre will have to follow, the national government is preparing a decree that will enable moviegoers to see films on big screens for the first time in 10 months.

Safety precautions will require the use of a bubble system allowing up to six people to sit together, among other measures. Social distancing will be required between customers.

According to a report by the Noticias Argentinas news agency, Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero is expected to announce the measure in the coming days, after talks by Culture Ministry officials  Cinemas have been closed since March last year, when the government imposed strict restrictions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The re-opening of movie theatres will be welcomed by industry leaders, who agreed the protocols with officials at the Culture Ministry.

In recent months, cinema staff, artists and producers have staged protests asking for the re-opening of branches, The latest came on Wednesday morning, when demonstrators blocked Avenue Corrientes, near the Abasto shopping centre, which hosts several screens. Industry workers have been angered that other entertainment venues, such as theatres, have been allowed to re-open, while cinemas have not.

Under the new rules, the use of facemasks will be mandatory screening venues, with moviegoers only allowed to remove them momentarily to consume food or drink. Another measures requires all theatres to be "cleaned and sanitised properly before and after each function.” Each screen must have an adequate ventilation system.

Guests will be permitted to attend in “social bubbles of recreation,” which are “shared spaces of proximity between people who attend the establishment together.” Bubbles may not exceed six people and will be made up of adjoining seats.

Each bubble will be separated by two free seats on each side in order to comply with the protocol which states “the distance between occupied seats should be at least 1.5 metres to 2 metres.”

– TIMES/NA

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