The cinemas in Singapore have had to close since the COVID-19 pandemic on March 26th, which hit cinema-goers and operators alike.
However, movie fans can finally be happy because the cinemas reopened this week. Operators such as Cathay and Golden Village (GV) reopened on July 13, while indie cinema operator The Projector reopened two days ago on July 15.
Film lovers will be delighted to hear that there is an exciting range of films, such as the sequel to the popular South Korean zombie thriller "Train to Busan: Peninsula" and "A Quiet Place 2".
However, it will not go on as usual and the film experience will probably also feel different for the viewers.
What to expect when you go to the cinema
Photo credit: MalayMail
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has determined that cinemas must adhere to a number of mandatory secure administrative measures.
Some rules include a seating configuration with a meter of social distance. Couples or friends in groups of up to five people can sit together, but the seating configuration with social distance applies between the groups. Each cinema hall is also limited to 50 people.
Wearing masks is also always mandatory, except when eating food and drinks.
In addition, areas with high points of contact between the films are regularly disinfected and disinfected.
What do Singaporeans think?
Cinema goers outside of Golden Village / Photo credit: Golden Village via Facebook
It seems that Internet users and Singaporeans share mixed reviews about the reopening of theaters.
Some Singaporeans believe that the situation in cinemas is not significantly different from other public spaces such as restaurants or public transportation.
Priscilla Lee, who saw Train to Busan: Peninsula, said, "For me, it's the same situation as in a restaurant where groups of friends can sit and eat together while keeping their distance from other groups."
However, there is a limitation. The 23-year-old believes that cinema-goers should always wear their masks and that eating and drinking should not be allowed.
While some shared neutral to positive feelings and praised the move, others were not so optimistic.
28-year-old David Goh said his preferred cinema hall is his home: "I don't think it's safe. If only one person in the hall is COVID-19 positive, we are all at risk."
The film experience around the globe
Countries around the world are outlining plans to reopen cinemas as they are slowly emerging from closures.
Malaysia has been recognized as one of the five largest countries in the world that has managed to control the spread of COVID-19. The country's theaters were also reopened to the public, but with stricter measures.
All cinema-goers must have a free space between them, regardless of whether they are part of a couple or a group of friends.
Seating plan for MBO cinemas in Malaysia / Photo credit: MalayMail
Germany has also started reopening its cinemas since the end of May, albeit with strict rules for social distance. In addition to a distance of 1.5 m from the adjacent group, glass screens have also been implemented in some cinemas to minimize contact between cinema-goers.
Plexiglass between the seats of the Cineplex Alhambra in Berlin / Photo credit: thelocal.de
Critics and naysayers are skeptical about the reopening of cinemas, but it is certainly an event that many film fans are eagerly awaiting.
That said, the reduced traffic in cinemas could be a blessing for Singaporeans who loathe crowds, but a curse for cinema operators who try to increase their sales after three months of downtime.
Selected image source: the projector