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Myanmar shutters cinemas across the country until April 30

The Myanmar Motion Picture Organization (MMPO) on Monday shuttered cinemas across the country to boost the government’s efforts to prevent the entry of the dreaded COVID-19, which has killed over 6500 people.

U Nyi Nyi Tun Lwin, chair of MMPO, said the cinemas would not be operating until April 30.

“I heard the official letter would be released today,” he told The Myanmar Times. “I think all cinemas will have to close once the letter is issued.”

“We discussed at the meeting to close the cinemas for the sake of public health,” he added.

He said theater owners reached the decision to close down cinemas temporarily during the MMPO meeting on Sunday.

U Than Naing, manager of Mingalar Cinemas, said that movie houses operated by the company stopped screening movies starting Monday.

“Our cinemas have just closed today following the verbal instruction from the U Thein Naing, director at Motion Picture Promotion Division under the Ministry of Information,” he said.

“They will be closed until April 30. If there is any extension period, we will continue our closure. Regarding the damages to us, the boss will take care of his employees.”

The movie houses will resume operation on May 1, provided the government will not extend the closure. The showing of films will be in serial order.

There are more than 150 movie theaters owned by Mingalar Cinema Group, JCGV Cinema Group and Paradiso Cinema Group across Myanmar.

There are eight films in the screening list between March 16 and April 30 but there are some difficulties on determining what would be shown as negotiations are in progress.

“Our production’s film Pyaing Bat is planned to show in cinema. Now we have to postpone it,” Ko Bo San from Bo Bo Film Production told The Myanmar Times. “Closure of theaters doesn’t affect the producers much but it will hurt theater owners more.”

The Myanmar Academy Awards Ceremony, the Star Awards by Myanmar Journalists Association and the Myanmar Thingyan Festival have been postponed as part of measures to fight COVID-19.

Other measures aimed at containing the disease are the closure of nursery schools and child daycare centres across the country, among others.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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