Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has requested relevant ministries to consider reopening cinemas nationwide as the country has been adapting to the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a dispatch recently released from the Government Office.
PM Chinh tasked the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, the Ministry of Health, and other relevant government agencies with drawing up a plan for the resumption of cinemas in all provinces and cities in a uniform manner to ensure safe operations despite the coronavirus outbreak, the dispatch wrote.
In early January, a number of cinema businesses in Hanoi sent a letter to the prime minister to seek permission to resume operations ahead of the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday in the capital city, the dispatch added.
The National Cinema Center in Hanoi is closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Thanh Hai
Entertainment and cultural activities, including movie watching, will be in high demand during the upcoming holiday, especially when many Vietnamese Tet films are slated to debut on this occasion after nearly two years of delays, the businesses said.
They noted that Hanoi is one of the major markets, which contributes a big share of revenues to the film industry in Vietnam.
Therefore, movie theaters in the capital city need to be allowed to reopen so that businesses and filmmakers could solve their financial difficulties and contribute to the nation’s dual goal of pandemic prevention and socio-economic development, they added.
The businesses asked for a pilot reopening of cinemas, with disease prevention measures stringently in place. They also hope this will enable Vietnamese films to reach a wide audience during the upcoming holiday and to bring a chance for filmmakers and cinema businesses to recover and keep growing.
Hanoi authorities have shut down all cinemas since early May last year as part of the local pandemic prevention and control measures when the fourth wave of infections started to get serious.
The capital city has reported nearly 106,000 local infections since the fourth virus wave hit the country on April 27, 2021. The pandemic is still unpredictable in the city with the daily counts of 2,800 to 3,000 recorded over the past week.
Currently, Hanoi is leading the country in terms of new daily Covid-19 infections. However, with high vaccination rates, hospitalizations and deaths are still under control.
Meanwhile, cinemas have been allowed to reopen in Ho Chi Minh City, the former epicenter of this wave, since late November as the virus has been put under control and the majority of citizens have been fully Covid-19 vaccinated.