Hong Kong Closing Theaters Again After New Wave of Coronavirus

As of Wednesday, Theaters in Hong Kong will close again as a third wave fo coronavirus surges through the city. The move is one of several new actions announced on Monday by Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Social distancing requirements will also put an end to restaurant dining at peak hours, from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m., and wearing masks will become mandatory on public transportation. The city government will also reduce the maximum number of people allowed to gather in groups from 50 to four. Hong Kong had gone weeks without any local coronavirus transmissions. New cases have begun to spring up, believed to be the result of undetected cases coming in from outside of the city. Hong Kong reported 52 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, 11 of which are known imports.

This news comes as theaters around the globe struggle with the effects of the pandemic. The box office is looking at a 70 percent downturn from 2019. Cinemark Theaters announced in June that it is delaying its reopening until Friday, July 24th in response to the delays of studio films like Tenet, as well as Mulan. Cinemark promises to reopen with "elevated cleaning and safety standards."

"Cinemark is pleased with the moviegoer response and key learnings from our initial five-theatre test-and-learn phase in the Dallas area, and we look forward to welcoming movie fans back into our auditoriums across the country to enjoy this year's newest films," said Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi in a press release. "Our multi-phased reopening plan was thoughtfully designed with multiple contingencies in place that enable us to efficiently adapt to today's ever-changing environment. We continue to pay close attention to status of the virus, local mandates and availability of new content while prioritizing the health and safety of our guests, employees and communities."

AMC Theatres made a similar announcement, pushing back it's reopening until July 30th. "We continue to devote extraordinary resources into our plan to operate our theatres with a hyper commitment to the safety and health of our guests and associates, notably in the United States through our new AMC Safe & Clean initiative," said AMC Theatres CEO and president Adam Aron. "Our theatre general managers across the U.S. started working full time again today and are back in their theatres gearing up to get their buildings fully ready just a few weeks from now for moviegoers. That happy day, when we can welcome guests back into most of our U.S. theatres, will be Thursday, July 30."

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Chains and studios continue to hatch new plans to draw audiences back into theaters once they do reopen, including bringing popular movies back into theaters. At least half of theatergoers say they'll avoid going to see a film even once theaters are open again.

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