GSC starts #ReopenCinemas hashtag in response to other non-essential businesses being allowed to operate during MCO 2.0

Melanie Chalil
·2-min read
A permanently shuttered GSC Berjaya Times Square following forced extended closure brought about by government measures during the MCO, February 22, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
A permanently shuttered GSC Berjaya Times Square following forced extended closure brought about by government measures during the MCO, February 22, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PETALING JAYA, Feb 24 — Malaysian cinema company Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) has started the hashtag #ReopenCinemas as a plea to the Health Ministry and the National Security Council (NSC) to allow movie theatres to resume operations.

“We miss movies on the big screen and we know you miss it too.

“But with your support, we hope to #ReopenCinemas and welcome everyone back,” it wrote on Twitter yesterday tagging the NSC and the Health Ministry.

It also called on cinemagoers to like the post or share their love for cinemas by responding to the hashtag and post.

The tweet has since been retweeted 736 times with Malaysians asking the government to let cinemas open their doors.

“Can I spam everywhere that cinemas need to be open to save a thousand workers in this area?” asked @mai_spa.

Others lamented not being able to catch anticipated Hollywood releases.

The tweet comes a day after the Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) pointed out the unfairness in allowing other non-essential businesses such as gyms and spas to operate while cinemas remain shut during the movement control order.

MAFE released a statement saying the Malaysian cinema industry suffered a 90 per cent year-on-year decline in revenue, recording more than RM500 million in total losses last year.

In the wake of shutdowns across the Malaysian economy to curb the spread of Covid-19, the cinema sector saw countless jobs lost, permanent closures of movie theatres and a significant downsizing of operations for all exhibitors.

Last October, the country’s third largest exhibitor MBO Cinemas went into voluntary liquidation leading to its permanent shutdown.

GSC, which has more than 300 screens in 36 locations across Malaysia was also forced to shutter their Cheras Leisure Mall and Berjaya Times Square branches.

Citing other countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and India that have reopened cinemas, MAFE said cinema operators here have followed the government’s standard operating procedures (SOP) but despite their best efforts, movie theatres have yet to receive the green light to operate.

The association supported its plea to allow cinemas to reopen by highlighting that no Covid-19 clusters have been traced back to cinemas on a global level.

Read the full statement here.

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