Coronavirus: Dubai residents see logic in temporary cinema closure

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Dubai residents, cinema, closure

Dubai - Comments across the city have been understanding and, in fact, positive towards the need for immediate action to halt the virus.

By David Light

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Published: Sun 15 Mar 2020, 10:23 PM

Last updated: Mon 16 Mar 2020, 12:36 AM

A call for temporary closure of all cinemas, theme parks, amusement games and electronic games centres, bodybuilding and fitness gyms and spring camps by the Dubai government has been hailed by residents in the emirate.
In a circular shared by the Dubai Media Office on Saturday, the government has taken the step of enforcing the temporary closure until the end of March in a bid to contain the spread of the Covid-19.
Film distributors and picture houses will be affected by the lack of business and residents will no longer have the opportunity to see the latest releases on the big screen. Yet, comments across the city have been understanding and, in fact, positive towards the need for immediate action to halt the virus.
VOX Cinemas, an arm of Majid Al Futtaim Leisure and Entertainment told Khaleej Times: "The health and wellbeing of our employees and customers remains our number one priority and all precautionary measures are in place to maintain the highest possible health and safety standards. Please monitor our social channels for further updates. We wish everyone good health."
Similar sentiments were echoed by independent Alserkal Avenue theatre Cinema Akil, who took a typically creative stance sending out a message they were 'practising social distancing'. "Community has always been front and centre of Cinema Akil's story as a grassroots organisation, we're doing our part in protecting the community during the coronavirus pandemic by practising social distancing and temporarily canceling all screenings. Behind the scenes, the team is working for the love of film and looking forward to seeing you after the intermission. Stay safe and let's get through this together."
Front Row Filmed Entertainment, a Dubai-based movie distributor, instead of lamenting the fact their schedule of films will have to be pushed back, told us periods of self-isolation may offer a chance to catch up with some of their output. "It's an opportunity for people to stay home and be close to their families and loved ones. It's also a good time to check out titles from our extensive video-on-demand (VOD) library - a rich and eclectic mix of films and a great way to support independent cinema. These titles can be found through iTunes and Netflix among several other streaming platforms."
"As much I was looking forward to seeing A Quiet Place 2, cinema closures until the end of March is the most responsible and necessary step to curtail the spread of Covid-19. A few weeks of inconvenience is a small price to pay for long-term public health and safety," said communications executive Amaka Olele.
"I think it's a responsible and necessary move to help contain the viral threat for the time being," said Yvonne Ehiguese, another media professional. "It also goes to show the government's efforts to safeguard public health which is great."

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