GHS, GTA set to rollout modalities for the reopening of cinemas— Akufo-Addo announces
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has revealed government intentions to open cinemas after a year shutdown as a measure to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
According to him, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), will in the coming weeks announce the modalities for the re-opening of the cinemas.
He said the protocols are critical to ensuring the safety of patrons and all involved in the industry.
Speaking in a televised address to the nation in Accra on Sunday, President Akufo-Addo stated that the operators of cinemas would have to comply fully with the agreed modalities and protocols before the industry will be reopened.
“In a move towards the reopening of cinemas and theatres, the government has engaged cinema owners and operators on a set of protocols and guidelines that need to be put in place and implemented by all operators before the eventual re-opening. In the coming weeks, the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Tourism Authority will be announcing these protocols and mandatory modalities, and work with the operators on a set of directives that will ensure the health and safety of all patrons and staff in all the facilities involved,” he added.
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President Akufo-Addo assured filmmakers that their call on the government to consider reopening cinemas in the wake of the COVID-19-induced restrictions, was under consideration.
During the media launch of the Presidential Film Pitch Series in Accra on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, President Akufo-Addo indicated that filmmakers would soon hear from the COVID-19 taskforce soon.
“I want to proclaim on a matter of great concern, that the opening of cinemas is under constant review by the COVID-19 taskforce. And hopefully, you’ll hear from the taskforce soon,” he said.
Calls on Open of cinemas
In October 2020, the National Film Authority – Action Group (NFA-AG), a pressure group largely made up of film industry stakeholder associations and guilds, called on the government to immediately take action to lift restrictions on cinemas in Ghana.
Presenting the petition to the Presidency through the then Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ms Barbara Oteng Gyasi on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, they said: “This is to enable the film industry to kick-start its process of recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic in line with many other sectors.”
According to them, a similar plea was made to the Ministry on August 4, 2020, adding that “we did not receive any response.”
They also stated in the letter that they have “carefully evaluated the potential spread of the virus at our cinemas” and a risk assessment done shows that such facilities are safe for reopening.
The group proposed an online booking system that would allow the cinemas and filmmakers to easily track and trace their customers, taking into consideration measures outlined by the cinema operators and the data submitted to the Ghana Tourism Board for consideration.