Bangladesh to shut cinemas after coronavirus fear

Cultural Correspondent | Published: 22:06, Mar 16,2020 | Updated: 22:13, Mar 16,2020


A front view of Chitra Mahal Cinema Hall in Old Dhaka. — Indrajit Kumer Ghosh

To contain the spread of coronavirus, cinemas across the country will remain close from March 18 to April 2.

The decision was taken at a meeting of Bangladesh Film Exhibitors’ Association on Monday. Vice-president of the association Mia Alauddin confirmed the matter to New Age.

‘We have taken the decision after talking with the cinema owners and they have agreed to close their halls. Official letters will be sent soon to all the owners,’ said Mia Alauddin.

The directive comes hours after the education ministry shut down all institutions till March 31 across the country on Monday amid coronavirus fear.

Bangladesh on Saturday imposed a ban on all travellers’ entry into the country from the European countries except England for two weeks. Visa-on-arrival facilities for all countries have also been cancelled as well.

Eight coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the country till Monday.

Cinema owners said that they are waiting for the official letter from the concerned authority.

Madhumita Cinema Hall owner Iftekhar Uddin Nawshad said, ‘Owners are struggling to run their cinemas due to low turnout of visitors. We can’t even pay the salary of our staff. If we keep cinemas close, we will have to incur heavy losses. However, I will close my cinema after I receive a letter from the government.’

Mezbah Uddin Ahmed, senior marketing manager of Star Cineplex, said, ‘We have not received any letter for closing our cinemas yet. If we receive the letter, we will follow through.’

Deputy secretary of ministry of commerce Abdul Awal, also the administrator of cinemas, said, ‘We support the decision of Bangladesh Film Exhibitors’ Association. We will issue a gazette notification on March 18 regarding this matter.’

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