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UAE: Cinema hall reopening in Abu Dhabi signals Covid recovery on track

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 07/03/2021 Ashwani Kumar
a room with people sitting at a desk: UAE: Cinema hall reopening in Abu Dhabi signals Covid recovery on track © Provided by Khaleej Times UAE: Cinema hall reopening in Abu Dhabi signals Covid recovery on track

The UAE Capital is slowly but surely on a path to recovery. On Saturday, the local authorities announced the reopening of cinema halls, a month after its closure.

The past few weeks have been filled with signs of optimism. For the first time since January 12, the number of new Covid-19 cases dipped below 3,000 for an entire week baring Friday when it was 3,072. Also, the number of new cases has remained low since the middle of February when compared to January. Meanwhile, the vaccination drive has hit 6.2 million doses with more than 46 per cent of the population being offered the jab so far.

The Capital seems to now enjoy the first-mover advantage of kicking-off the massive vaccination drive and stringent Covid-19 testing. And there are enough reasons to suggest that Abu Dhabi is poised to bend the curve sooner than later.

By mid-February, local authorities resumed traditional classroom learning in schools, a new waterfront attraction Al Gurm Corniche was opened for public to exercise and relax, last week of the month saw an in-person IDEX defence exhibition successfully attract more than 62,400 local and international visitors. The first global defence expo in the post pandemic recovery phase witnessed regular visits from the UAE leadership and top ministers, which was a confidence-boosting sight for the community members and foreign delegates. The message was loud and clear: The Capital is ready to scale up on hosting international events.

The reopening of cinema halls is one more step on the path to recovery. Cinema halls can function at 30 per cent capacity while following all precautionary measures including wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and regular sanitising, the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee said.

Abu Dhabi's robust safety measures against the pandemic leading to a drop in the number of new cases could be a major reason for cinemas to reopen, said Cine Royal Cinemas general manager Mohammed Rafeeq.

"We are happy to welcome our guests again. Our staff use face shields in addition to masks. We do temperature check for customers, payment for ticket and kiosk is contactless, touch-free sanitiser with sensor installed all over the premises and regular sanitising of the chairs and carpets is done."

Rafeeq noted the cinema halls actually can operate at 22 to 25 per cent only. "If two people are sitting, we have to leave two seats vacant to their right and left, front and back, i.e., a total of 8 seats. Cinema hall is one of the safest places with all strict measures followed."

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