With the movie industry falling victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept many consumers at home due to fear of infection, two more theaters have announced that they plan to close temporarily as of today.
Chang Hwa Cinemas and Taiwan Cinemas in Changhua City, two of the three theaters in Changhua County, said that they would suspend operations until the pandemic eases.
The announcements came after Taipei’s Dynasty Theater on Thursday said that it would close for three months from Monday next week due to the virus, and Tainan’s Madou Cinema on Friday said that it would close for two months as of tomorrow.
Photo: Tang Shih-ming, Taipei Times
Neither Chang Hwa Cinemas nor Taiwan Cinemas, which blamed COVID-19 for their closures, said when they would reopen.
The third multiplex in Changhua County — Yuanlin Cinemas — has decided to stay open, but said it would reduce its adult ticket price from NT$200 to NT$180 to attract customers.
Yuanlin requires customers to have their temperatures taken and their hands disinfected before entering the venue as a disease prevention measure.
Yuanlin is also limiting the number of customers to 40 in each of its four theaters so that social distancing can be observed.
Madou Cinema, which opened in the 1960s and is now a second-run theater, said on Facebook that the pandemic has delayed scheduling for many movies and has hurt its operations.
“To avoid creating any loopholes in the current anti-epidemic efforts ... that could compromise the health of customers and employees, the cinema has decided to close for two months from April 29,” Madou Cinema said.
“Should the virus cease to spread, we will see you again,” it said.
The Tainan City Government’s Economic Development Bureau said it has estimated that sales posted by movie theaters in the city have fallen by at least 60 percent, as many people are staying at home to avoid the risk of infection.
Madou Cinema has become the first victim in the city to temporarily shut down to avoid further losses, bureau Director-General Chen Kai-ling (陳凱凌) said.
Tainan has 12 movie theaters and the bureau said that so far, no others have any plans to close temporarily.
Dynasty Theater, which opened in 1991 on Taipei’s Minquan W Road, has seen business plummet in the past few weeks.
Chinese-language media reports cited Dynasty employees as saying the virus scare has brought the number of customers to less than 100 per day, which has seriously affected business.
The reports said that the theater would help its employees seek financial aid from the government.
Dynasty, which is also a second-run theater, said that it would remodel its facilities while it is closed.
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