Jakarta. The residents of Tangerang, Banten, can soon watch movies on the big screen again, after Mayor Arief Wismansyah has given the green light to movie theaters to reopen on July 29.
Before going back to business, theaters must comply with the necessary health protocols. For extra precaution, the Tangerang administration will also check on the theater's ventilation.
Air circulation has become a significant concern in Covid-19 safety measures after the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged the possibility of the Covid-19's airborne spread in closed-loop ventilated rooms.
"Most theaters have air conditioners. We will check if the air circulation has been set accordingly to avoid virus transmission within the room," Arief said at his office in Tangerang on Friday, as quoted by Jakarta Globe's sister publication BeritaSatu.
A Covid-19 Special Task Force would also monitor the location to ensure that moviegoers maintain a safe physical distancing, Arief said.
Follow the Guideline
The pandemic has wreaked havoc in various sectors, including the cinema and film industry. Many film releases are delayed indefinitely following massive cinema closures. Without their audience, theaters are struggling financially.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio has recently rolled out a guideline on cleanliness, health, safety, and environmental sustainability (CHSE). The direction is a part of "Indonesia Care," a national campaign to promote health protocols in places of business under the tourism and creative economy sector.
The campaign offers cinemas a glimmer of hope to get back on their feet while ensuring safety for its customers.
Last Friday, Minister Wishnutama attended a protocol simulation at one of the busiest movie theaters Cinema XXI at Plaza Senayan mall in Jakarta. The simulation ran smoothly with staff on duty wearing face shields and gloves. Customers can also order snacks from an app to minimize physical contact.
"We are doing a simulation today. So, once theaters are back for business, we are ready. With the health protocols, we hope that the film industry can be productive once again, be it from the cinema, production, and other activities that have been put to a halt for the past few months," Wishnutama said, as quoted by local news agency Antara.
All theaters across the archipelago planned to reopen on July 29 simultaneously. Jakarta, however, has called off the plan as the capital city extended its transition period.
Wishnutama said it was up to the regional government to give the permit for reopening the movie theaters, after taking into consideration the pandemic spread, region readiness, and the implementation of health protocols in the respective region.
More relaxations are on the way despite the daily four-digit rise of confirmed cases. As of now, only schools in green zones can resume in-person learning. However, this may soon change.
On Monday, Covid-19 Task Force head Doni Monardo revealed that the government was considering reopening schools in yellow zones following demands from parents and schools.
If approved, the number of students cannot exceed more than 25-30 percent of the room capacity. Each student is only allowed to attend class twice a week at most.
Although the gov't has yet to make a decision, the plan has already sparked a debate.
Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) said the relaxation would threaten the safety of both students and teachers.
"It is better to first evaluate the 104 districts in green zones. Do take a close look if [the schools] in the green zones have been compliant. Because we have received many reports on non-compliance," KPAI education commissioner Retno Listyarti told local news media Detik on Tuesday.