Coronavirus: Cinemas to reopen in Abu Dhabi malls

Theatres have been permitted to operate at 30 per cent capacity

Cinemas in Abu Dhabi malls have been permitted to reopen at limited capacity.

Authorities on Monday said they can now welcome cinema-goers again, subject to a series of rules designed to protect staff and visitors.

Operators must not book more than 30 per cent of available seats.

Social distancing will be in force in ticket queues and inside the cinema itself, while no adjacent seats will be used, except by members of the same family.

All seats must be sanitised after each show and cinemas must allow at least 20 minutes between screenings to ensure there is enough time for this.

Theatres across the country shut in March to stem the spread of Covid-19. But they have been gradually reopening in other emirates.

Now Abu Dhabi's Department of Economic Development has set down strict new guidelines governing their reopening.

Other rules stipulate the cinema must be disinfected at the end of each day.

There will be no tickets or pamphlets issued and touch screens will be removed.

Masks will be mandatory and all staff must be tested for coronavirus before cinemas reopen.

No set date has been given for their reopening. However, it is believed operators can open their doors once all requirements are met.

“The recent circular directs cinema owners to resume their activities at only 30 per cent capacity of their halls while continuously sanitising and cleaning all their service facilities and common areas where food and beverage products are sold," said Rashed Al Balooshi, undersecretary at the department.

"They also should apply social distancing measures between visitors inside and outside the cinema halls; comply with wearing masks; and conduct Covid-19 tests for all their staff members. Granting the cinema reopening permit is subject to the fulfilment of all the set of requirements,” he said.

Abu Dhabi has been home to a drive-through cinema located in Yas Marina for the past several weeks.

Tickets cost Dh160 per vehicle and there is a limit of three people per car if guests are not from the same family. If they are from the same family, there can be up to five guests in a vehicle.

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Gallery: Life returns to Abu Dhabi streets

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