Theaters to resume screenings in Beijing using ID registration system for ticket sales

By Wan Lin Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/27 14:23:40

A movie theater in Shijiazhuang, capital of North China's Hebei Province, is packed with viewers on November 24, 2013. Photo: IC

Beijing has issued a guideline for the resumption of movie screenings amid the epidemic control and prevention work, which requires theaters to implement an ID registration system for viewers to buy tickets. 

Moviegoers will have to provide their addresses, ID numbers, telephone numbers along with the specific information of the movie they plan to watch, including theater hall number, seat number and others, according to a guideline on epidemic prevention for the resumption of work in the Beijing film industry jointly issued on Wednesday by the Beijing Film Bureau and the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control. 

According to the guideline, theaters must sell tickets in alternate rows and seats so as to keep moviegoers a safe distance away from each other. 

The news triggered heated discussion on China's social media, with netizens opposing the resumption of movie screenings amid the epidemic outbreak.

"Why not keep theaters closed until the epidemic ends? The enclosed space in a theater hall cannot ensure a safe environment for viewers, even with a distance between them," commented a Weibo user with more than 22,000 thumb-up likes. 

Others expressed concerns about the theater's new ID registration system.

Yolanda Liu, a movie fan who works in a Beijing-based news company, told the Global Times on Thursday that in addition to safety reasons, she is also worried about possible abuse of personal information submitted to the theater.

Another movie fan, Tao Yang, a junior college student in Beijing, held the same view and noted that he would rather watch paid movies in the comfort of his home than take the risk of having his personal information leaked. 

A survey conducted on Weibo showed that 88 percent of respondents would not go to the cinema to watch movies after screenings are resumed. A total of 5,500 users took the survey online as of press time on Thursday. 

For movie production companies, the guideline says that no more than 50 film crew staff can work on site during filming in the city. Cast and crew members who have come from or traveled through the epidemic-affected areas will not be allowed to return to work. 

The guideline did not mention a specific time for the full resumption of work in the film industry.

Theater screenings and film production across China have been suspended since the virus outbreak started. 


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