KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — Hong Kong producer Raymond Wong Pak Ming has thrown his support behind a suggestion by the government for the temporary closure of cinemas to contain the spread of Covid-19 virus.
Hong Kong daily Ming Pao reported Wong as saying that cinemas should only be opened once the outbreak is over.
“The turnout rate at cinemas has indeed suffered following the outbreak,” he said, adding that the island state’s authorities have approached theatre industry players to discuss the possibility of temporarily closing cinemas but have yet to achieve a consensus.
In the meantime, Wong suggested that cinemas beef up their disinfection and cleaning works.
He also said the management of cinemas could consider measuring the body temperature of cinemagoers and give them free face masks.
Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau had last week strongly recommended that cinemas, karaoke, tuition centres and places where there are a lot of people gather to close for 14 days to contain the spread of Covid-19.
However, Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam said the government would not force them to close as the government believed they would take the necessary measures to prevent the disease from spreading.
While sales of movie tickets and movie production have been affected due to Covid-19, Wong counts himself lucky as his films were released before the outbreak.
Citing Ip Man 4 as an example, Wong said it collected HKG$1.2 billion (about RM639.3 million) in China.
“The movie was shown during the Christmas period so we were considered lucky as we were not affected (by Covid 19),” he said.
As for his latest film G Storm that is still in production, Wong said it was supposed to resume work after Chinese New Year but has been temporarily suspended due to Covid-19.