Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – Jakarta would allow movie theaters to reopen soon after the city administration held a meeting with the Health Ministry and the Tourism and Creative Industries to conclude the move would have a slight risk of spreading Covid-19 disease, Jakarta Governor Anies Basedan said on Wednesday.
"The conclusion from this meeting is that movie theaters in Jakarta will reopen soon," Anies said in a broadcasted statement on the Youtube channel of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
Jakarta has prepared to reopen movie theaters since June 5 as it loosened the so-called large scale social restrictions (PSBB) to allow some economic activities to resume. However, the capital has seen the number of new cases spiked since then, forcing the administration to delay the plan.
Retailers have long argued that reopening cinema was the key for attracting visitors to shopping malls, which have opened two months now but failed to attract enough visitors. Others suggested the theaters can help to lift the people's overall mood after prolonged lockdowns in their homes.
"The movie theater does have important contributions, especially in providing entertainment to the community. People's immunity can increase because they are happy, which in turn could enhance the mental and physical condition of the community," said Wiki Adisasmito, the spokesman of the government's Covid-19 Handling Task Force, on Wednseday.
Anies said several studies in other countries had shown SARS-CoV-2 – his virus caused Covid-19 disease – had a hard time spreading in movie theaters as long as the moviegoers wearing masks at all times, avoid drinking and eating in the cinema, and sit separately from each other.
"There are 47 countries where movie theaters run as usual today. Even South Korea did not close their movie theaters during the peak of the pandemic there," Anies said.
Anies said that the city would soon issue a regulation that details health protocol in movie theaters. Under the ordinance, movie theaters would ban children and senior citizens from entering their premise.
All ticket sales must be made online, and the theaters' operator must clean the air in the cinema regularly. All employees and visitors must wear masks, maintain a safe distance and wash hands frequently, Anies said.
"There will be strict supervision to ensure that movie theaters can provide their services without risking the health of their patrons," he said.