Most Chinese cinemas will be allowed to reopen next week with social distancing rules following months of coronavirus closures, according to the authorities said Thursday.
Movie theatres in “low-risk” areas of the country can resume operations on July 20, but must screen patrons for fevers and enforce mask-wearing, the China Film Administration said.
Cinemas are also required to sell tickets for no more than 30 percent of the available seats at each screening, and must keep groups of moviegoers at least one metre (about three feet) apart, the administration said.
Late June, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had released the virus genome sequence from the recent clusters of Covid-19 infections related to Beijing’s Xinfadi wholesale farm produce market.
The WHO has already questioned the Chinese officials’ claims that the virus was traced to the imported salmon in Xinfadi and purported origins to Europe saying that there is no evidence to back it.
Recently, the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the Geneva-based WHO, passed a unanimous resolution to probe the origin of the virus. China also backed the resolution.
Chinese film authorities had announced in March that they would reopen cinemas, which have been shut since late January, but swiftly reversed the decision the same month after fresh clusters of cases were discovered across the country.
China on Thursday reported only one new virus case, imported from overseas, and most of the country is classified as “low risk” for virus outbreaks.