Even though cinemas continue to operate during the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period (May 16-June 13), one chain has opted to take a “pre-emptive decision” to temporarily close its doors, with effect from today (May 18).
In a notice shared on Instagram as well as its website Monday (May 17), Filmgarde Cineplexes — which runs three outlets at Leisure Park Kallang, Bugis+ and Century Square — said, “The health and safety of all Singaporeans, residents and our staff are important.
“In light of our nation's heightened Phase 2 alert against Covid-19 and the tightening of safe-management-measures, Filmgarde Cineplexes is taking the pre-emptive decision to temporarily pause the operations of all our cinemas from 18 May 2021. We will continue to monitor the ongoing developments and shall resume business in due course.”
Under the new Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) rules, cinemas can only seat up to 100 people (with Pre-Event Testing or PET), or 50 (without PET); with safe-distancing between groups of up to two persons. Consumption of food or drinks is banned.
At time of writing, it's still business as usual for the other exhibitors. A spokesperson for Golden Village, which operates at 14 locations, told 8days.sg, "Golden Village’s operating hours will remain unchanged in this period of heightened safe management measures and will continue to serve our customers.
"Theatres’ operating hours will differ as respective outlets will open 30 minutes prior to the start of the first screening and remain open till the last session of the day."
She added, "During operation hours, GV will continue to enforce strict adherence to prevailing safe-distancing measures to ensure the safety of both our customers and staff. We will remind patrons that no food or drinks will be allowed in the cinema halls as masks have to be worn at all times.
During the Circuit Breaker last year, cinemas shuttered for more than three months before reopening in July.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health in a statement on Tuesday, said, “During this period, we strongly encourage everyone to remain at home and leave the house only for essential activities for the next four weeks.”
For those going to enclosed spaces with others nearby (like in a cinema hall?), they should wear masks with “good filtration capability”, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the Government’s Covid-19 task force, in a press conference.
Masks with good filtration capability, according to MOH, would "include reusable masks that are made of at least two layers of fabric, and surgical masks".
Movie distributors are also responding to the situation by delaying their releases. Warner Bros. pushed back the horror sequel The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It from June 3 to July 1, as well as In the Heights, the musical by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M Chu, from June 10 to July 8.
These changes came a day after UIP pulled Fast & Furious 9 from its May 26 release (with sneaks this weekend) and moved it to June 24, a day before its US premiere.
Releases of Disney’s Cruella (May 27), A Quiet Place Part II (June 10), Spirt Untamed (June 10) and Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (June 17) remain unchanged. For now.
For updates on the COVID-19 situation, click here.
Photo: Filmgarde Cineplexes