As the government gradually loosened circuit breaker measures, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singaporeans would have to get used to a “new normal” as a return to the previous state of affairs is not possible.
After many of us have lived in Lockdown and have been living in our own home for about two months now, they are longing to resume their social lives.
We have already noticed that life after COVID-19 will be very different, and even a simple activity like cinema will be a whole new experience.
So what does it look like when you go to the cinema?
1. Temperature tests, wearing masks
When re-opening cinemas, health monitoring measures such as temperature tests must be taken.
Patrons with temperatures of 37.5 ° C or higher are rejected – this is a simple measure that cinemas must implement so that cinema-goers feel safe and secure.
The authorities have determined that the wearing of masks will be mandatory in the short term, at least until phase 2 of the circuit breaker reopens.
When cinemas reopen, moviegoers will likely have to wear masks throughout the movie.
Photo credit: Bloomberg
However, some might argue, "How do I wear a mask and eat popcorn at the same time?"
To this end, cinemas may temporarily stop selling film bites and drinks in the early stages of reopening.
2. Single seats
With the current rules on social distance, the airlines will remove the middle seats and there will be free spaces between the individual desks in the workplace.
Photo credit: Golden Village
The same rule is likely to apply to cinemas. Before the circuit breaker started, one of Singapore's largest cinema operators, Golden Village, lifted its "No Single Seat Gap Policy" as part of a COVID-19 security precaution.
With a high probability that cinemas will force a single seat purchase, this means that you will no longer be able to choose pair seats or hoard a whole row with your friends.
The problem, however, is that if you have this gap between you and your film partner, you feel like you are watching the film "alone".
3. More expensive tickets
Photo credit: @ dextergch93 via Carousell
According to the rule of social distance, buying a single seat reduces the capacity of the cinema by 50 percent. Since they will sell fewer seats, it is very likely that they will raise the price of their cinema tickets to make up for their losses.
However, it is possible that prices will drop for a while in the short term.
Since watching movies is usually seen as a social activity, the rule of social distancing can keep people from going to the movies.
In addition, the viewing habits have changed massively during this time of the circuit breaker, as many turn to streaming online films as an alternative.
For these two reasons, there is a possibility that cinemas will cut ticket prices or offer promotions to lure customers back to the big screen.
4. No new movie titles
Photo credit: Universal Studios Hollywood
As the studios continue to postpone their main releases, it is likely that there will be a shortage of new films available to the cinemas.
Hollywood studios will not release their major films until LA and New York's largest domestic markets are back in business.
However, the backlog of delayed films will pose its own challenges as the studios try to mix their release plans without cannibalizing each other.
Several highly anticipated films such as Disney's "Thor: Love and Thunder" were postponed until 2022. The upcoming sequel to Sony's "Venom" has been postponed until June 2021 to take over Warner Bros.'s "The Batman" slot that has been released.
In the first few weeks, cinemas will likely focus on playing feel-good films such as animated films, family classics, and lighter action films (think of the franchises "Fast & Furious" and "Harry Potter").
5. Less seasons
Photo credit: The Irish Times
Given COVID-19, cinemas would have to step up their cleaning and disinfection efforts when they reopened.
Workers must be trained in strict hygiene standards as theaters have to be cleaned thoroughly between performances, which could reduce the number of seasons.
In addition, lower seating capacity due to social distancing rules would mean fewer seasons, making it more difficult for moviegoers to secure tickets.
On the other hand, fewer seasons mean that cinema operators have a better chance of filling their theaters.
Cinemas could be reopened “in phase 2”
Minister Lawrence Wong recently announced that Singapore could move into phase 2 reopening the circuit breaker by the end of June.
It will all depend on the number of COVID-19 broadcasts in the community in the first two weeks of June, he added.
In phase 2, retail stores, consumer services and sports facilities such as stadiums and swimming pools can be reopened.
People could dine in grocery stores and social gatherings are allowed, but both are subject to a maximum of five people.
Regarding activities involving large groups of people in enclosed spaces such as cinemas, Wong said the government would "be more careful" if it could go back to business.
Authorities will begin discussions with companies in this category to ensure that they have the safeguards that would allow them to operate again.
They may not reopen at the beginning of phase 2, but could open later, "but still in phase 2," said Wong.
He refused to set an exact date and warned that talks with these companies could "take a while".
Selected image source: Tyrone Siu / Reuters