Eager to head back to cinemas

Moviegoers getting their body temperature scanned before entering the cinema halls at a mall in Penang. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

FILM lovers are excited and eager to return to their happy place after a hiatus of several months.

Siblings S. Viikraman, 21, and S. Ruthra, 19, were among the first few who went to watch a movie on the first day cinemas reopened on Dec 16.

Elder brother Viikraman said he had been waiting for a long time to go to the cinema for movies.

“I am a movie freak and I can’t wait to finally be able to enjoy movies in the cinema once again.

“I had to stream movies online as cinemas were not operating previously. It is definitely not the same feeling as watching a movie in the cinema.

“I missed the theatre experience with the big screen and wonderful sound system.

“The experience can definitely never match watching them at home, ” the college student said.

Ooi showing the cinema ticket he purchased online for the movie Wonder Woman 1984.Ooi showing the cinema ticket he purchased online for the movie Wonder Woman 1984.

For Ruthra, popcorn is a must when watching movies.

“I missed the flavour of popcorn.

“Before the Covid-19 pandemic, my brother would come to watch movies alone every week.

“I usually only come to the cinema accompanied by my brother.

“Since we are both superhero movie fans, we decided to get our tickets online before heading to the cinema, ” she said when met at a cinema in George Town recently.

A 25-year-old man, who wished to be known only as Ooi, said he was off from work and was hanging out with his friends before deciding to catch a movie.

“It has been a long time since I came to the cinema. The last time I came was when the cinema reopened in September.

“As a movie buff, I frequented the cinema once biweekly prior to the pandemic. I enjoy the sound system and the atmosphere at the cinema.

“We decided to catch a movie after checking the seat availability through the cinema’s application.

“We chose the 6pm session as there were still ample seats available and I felt safe. I believe as long as we adhere strictly to the standard operating procedures, we will be safe, ” he said.

Business owner Razeem Sheeni Mubarakali, 28, said he used to watch movies at the cinema at least twice a month.

“I am excited to be here on the first day cinemas reopened.

“To satisfy my cravings for my favourite movies, I had to stream them online during the movement control order (MCO) period, ” he said, adding that the last time he was at the cinema was before the MCO was implemented in March.

Meanwhile, cinema field operations regional manager Mohd Asyraf Yong said the response was good on the first day cinemas reopened.

“Some customers booked as early as two days in advance.

“Our customers have occupied around 25% of the total capacity of 1,400 today.

“We are operating with four cinema halls accommodating around 120 customers each.

“Due to the good response, we increased the number of sessions from four to six today.

“The last session is set at 9.10pm so that the movie will end before midnight, ” he said.

Mohd Asyraf added that employees had returned to the cinema a day earlier to clean up and sanitise the area.

“We will sanitise the halls after every movie.

“Our customers have to maintain physical distancing at all times and put on face masks when they are not eating.

“Before entering the cinema, they will have to scan the MySejahtera app and have their temperatures taken.

“Besides, we encourage cashless transactions to reduce human contact, ” he said.

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cinemas , reopened , covid-19 , MCO , SOP


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