Abu Dhabi opens cinemas inside shopping malls at 30% capacity

Cinema owners must arrange for COVID-19 tests for all staff members, who must always wear gloves and masks at all times

Cinemas inside shopping malls to resume activities across Abu Dhabi [representative image]
Cinemas inside shopping malls to resume activities across Abu Dhabi [representative image]

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has issued a circular permitting the owners of cinemas inside shopping malls across Abu Dhabi to open doors to the public, provided they comply with precautionary measures being implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The circular directs cinema owners to resume activities at a maximum of 30% capacity, and directs cinemas to be continuously sanitised, with all their service facilities and common areas constantly cleaned, especially where food and beverage products are sold.

Moreover, food and beverage products will need to be sold in disposable single-use utensils, containers, and cups. Hand sanitisers should be offered in all public areas, entries, exits, washrooms, and other prominent areas.

Cinemas will be required to allocate two seats for each visitor, with an empty seat on both sides. There will be an entire row that is empty between every two rows, with social distancing marks on the floor and instruction signs at entries, exits, ticket windows, and refreshments areas.

Touch screens will not be available for use as ticket dispensing machines. Cinemas have been advised to encourage visitors to use electronic payment methods and buy tickets in advance using digital platforms. The distribution of promotional leaflets or brochures to the public has been prohibited.

ADDED has also instructed cinema owners to arrange for COVID-19 tests for all their staff members. The cinema staff and visitors also must always wear gloves and masks. Blankets, covers, and massage seats will not be provided to visitors, even in key areas.

The ADDED decision was made in coordination with the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis, and Disaster Committee for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting on the move, the under-secretary of ADDED, Rashed Abdul Karim Al Balooshi, said that the new circular is part of the department’s efforts to support the services and entertainment sectors and expedite their gradual return following a series of closure circulars due to the pandemic.

Al Balooshi added that cinemas that do not comply with the circular’s conditions and instructions will not be permitted to resume activities and display movies. He also highlighted that ADDED’s inspection and monitoring teams will conduct visits to ensure the implementation of all precautionary measures and procedures. Meanwhile, penalties will be issued to violators.

There are 19 cinemas operating in the emirate, including 12 in Abu Dhabi city, six in Al Ain city, and one in the Al Dhafra region.

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