With SOP in place, cinemas and theme parks start gaining crowds

Adapting to a new routine: Cinemagoers queueing to have their temperature checked before going in the cinema halls at a mall in Kuala Lumpur.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are heading for cinemas and theme parks with their loved ones on the first weekend after the reopening of these amusement spots.

Checks by The Star found that cinemas were popular choices for couples and groups of friends but not for families with young children as kids under 12 were not permitted to enter.

IT executive Amir Rahim and his wife Sheera Lissa Daud, both 26, were thrilled to go for their first movie outing after over three months of not being able to indulge in their favourite activity.

The couple said that they were movie buffs and frequently went on cinema dates to catch new releases before the movement control order (MCO) was put in place on March 18.

“We just wanted to come out and catch a movie while also observing how the recovery MCO is like, ” said Amir, when met at a cinema near here yesterday.

The recovery MCO period, which started on June 10, will last until Aug 31.

Visitors observing social distancing while watching a show at Sunway lagoon on the first day of its reopening. Visitors observing social distancing while watching a show at Sunway lagoon on the first day of its reopening.

Amir and Sheera also did not mind sitting apart from each other in the cinema to comply with the standard operating procedure (SOP).

“If our experience is good and we find that both staff and our fellow Malaysians could follow the SOP, then we will consider recommending to our family and friends to also visit the cinemas, ” said Amir.

Sheera, a social media executive, added that during the three phases of the MCO when cinemas were closed, they would catch up on movies online at home.

Student Syed Amir Syed Ahmad Rizal, 22, who also caught a new release with four other friends, said that despite the new normal, he still enjoyed returning to the cinema.

“I like watching movies and I enjoyed my outing to the cinema even in the new normal.

“The SOP set by the cinemas was really easy to follow, ” he added.

Kenneth Chin and his fiancee Elaine Sia, both 30, cancelled their movie date after discovering that most of the shows were reruns.

“There’s no point watching an old movie in the cinema, ” said Chin, a graphic designer.

Sia, an administrative staff member, said they would wait for more new releases to roll out before catching them on the big screen.

Over at the Sunway Lagoon theme park, families could be seen splashing about under the sun and trying out the many attractions in the park, which reopened yesterday.

The facility recorded over 2,000 visitors from morning until afternoon, with the SOP, which includes social distancing and use of face masks and hand sanitiser, put in place.

Sunway Theme Parks executive director Calvin Ho said the water quality was consistently checked, including testing by an independent third party water quality control contractor.

“We are always in constant contact with the Health Ministry should the need arise and to ensure that factual information is channelled to the public, ” he said in a statement yesterday.

In Johor, people were seen lining up to buy tickets to spend time with their families

at Legoland Malaysia Resort in Iskandar Puteri.A check by The Star showed people having their temperature taken and wearing face mask in accordance with the SOP.

The same was observed at the cinemas in a mall in Tebrau with a relatively smaller crowd.

Frequent cleaning was also done on the screens of self-service ticketing machines.

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