Reopening Cinemas in Nigeria

Reopening Cinemas in Nigeria

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On the 24th of March 2020, cinemas in Nigeria shut their doors for what everyone had assumed would be a short period of time. Little did we know that the usually improbable would become our new normal. For weeks and weeks, the country practically shut down as we tried to combat the deadly coronavirus pandemic being faced globally; and so a lot of industries remained understandably closed.

After about a month of running the country like a skeletal crew operation, various state governments started to ease up on lockdown procedures, allowing citizens to move about freely while ensuring proper safety precautions were being taken. This also applied to businesses as nationwide safety measures and precautionary practices were mandated before they could open their doors.

It has however come as a surprise that, while other industries like transportation, aviation, places of worship, clubs and bars have been allowed to open, cinemas are still prevented from doing so. Let us keep in mind that this is an industry that serves as a bridge between filmmakers and moviegoers. It is also a big part of the revenue generated by the entertainment industry. If clubs can be open by Federal Government directive, it is quite perplexing that cinemas have not been given the same consideration.

In light of this, the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) recently launched the #SaveCinemas campaign on social media and this campaign has been taken up by various filmmakers, actors and stakeholders across the country. The campaign seeks to bring awareness to what is considered an injustice against the industry, and to get everybody speaking about it in the hopes that the power of social media can sway the legislative decision-making process.

cinemas
cinemas

When asked, about 9 out of 10 moviegoers stated that they would love to see cinemas open as they are not just a place to sit and watch movies, but a place to connect with friends, build new relationships and just relax with family. They mentioned that they would not mind taking appropriate precautions as put in place by cinemas if it meant that they could indulge in something that is a favourite pastime for Nigerians.

The authority to reopen cinemas, however, still lies with the government but we reserve the right to ask why cinemas are still closed. What other measures need to be put in place? Should we look forward to hanging out at the cinemas soon? We hope these questions are answered soon, and favourably too.

But while we wait for the government to come to a decision, let’s do a quick run through of the changes you should expect when cinemas eventually open.

1. Temperature Check at first point of entry: You might be prevented from entering if you’re just a little sick. So, take note of that and help keep us all safe by staying home if you don’t feel well.

2. Sterilisation at the lobby entrance with spray sanitizer: If you make it through the first check, then you must be decontaminated still. Just close your eyes and pretend it’s free perfume.

3. Social distancing floor stickers: These stickers have been placed 2 meters apart, and are very large and easy to see. Help yourself to help everyone by sticking on your sticker please. Let’s be orderly.

4. No face mask, no entry: This should go without saying, but we do need to reiterate it for those that still haven’t gotten with the program. Use your face masks please.

Read Also: The Imminent Death of the Cinemas

5. Contactless urinary systems and wash hand sinks: You don’t have to touch anything in the toilet except the door. The urinary systems have been fitted with sensors that do the flushing for you. The same applies to washing your hands afterwards.

6. Several metres of distance between seats: I wonder if this means that those who go to the cinema on a date will be separated. That would be a shame, but safety first.

7. Cinemas will only take customers at 50% capacity: This means that there won’t be the usual crush of people jostling for space and the same air. It’s a good thing.


Pro Tip: The first few weeks of reopening cinemas will be
packed with everybody that has missed the taste of cinema
popcorn. Try to hold off on going to the cinema till the first
wave has passed.

Ameenah Okeh

Photos courtesy: @wehmie on Instagram and
@PostHumanBoy on Twitter

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