Cinemas in Malaysia to reopen, with strict SOPs at GSCinemas

Malaysian cinemas to reopen with SOPSStrict SOPs at GSCinemas receive mixed reactions from moviegoers
Image (for illustration purposes only) adapted from: The Smart Local Singapore

Malaysia has been seeing better days during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), with just 6 additional COVID-19 cases reported by KKM yesterday, 24th June 2020. So we’ve all been more than happy to return to activities that had previously been put on pause, including catching the latest movies on larger-than-life screens, with cinemas now allowed to reopen on 1st July 2020. 

Some of our go-to cinemas have already been prepping to welcome us back, with SOPs in place to ensure a safe environment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But a strict “no children under 12” ban implemented by GSCinemas in particular has been garnering mixed reactions from moviegoers, with some welcoming the move saying that “kids are annoying”, and other good-natured responses jokingly asking the cinema to ban “that everything-also-wow guy”.

Cinemas now allowed to reopen during RMCO 

The announcement that cinemas would now be allowed to resume operations during the RMCO was made on 22nd June, as reported by New Straits Times. Theatres, live events, tourism-related water activities, and public swimming can also be resumed.

Cinemas were previously not in the list of businesses allowed to reopen along with the announcement that the MCO will move into a Recovery phase. Because of that, some of our local cinemas took to their Facebook accounts on 7th June to post “dramatic” reactions to it.

GSCinemas shared a screenshot from The Simpsons with Homer representing “Cinemas” sadly sitting among other businesses allowed to reopen, such as barbers and pasar malams, while TGV Cinemas shared a heartbreaking clip from The Avengers to express their “devastation” at the news.

Cinemas mourn not being allowed to reopen
Image adapted from: GSCinemas & TGV Cinemas

GSCinemas places ban on children and the elderly

While majority of cinemas have yet made announcements on what SOPs they are going to implement following the recent development, GSCinemas has already shared some of theirs with the help of characters from Boi Boi Boy, a popular Malaysian animated series.

While mandatory temperature checks, social distancing, leaving empty seats between seats that can be taken, and check-ins are expected, a ban on children under 12 years old and those aged 60 and above is an extra step that they’ve taken, in a bid to keep these high-risk groups safe at this time.

GSCinemas strict SOPs
Image credit: GSCinemas

The post garnered a whole lot of attention, which prompted GSCinemas to share a follow-up Facebook post to address the reactions that they had been receiving.

The follow-up post had a screenshot from the Spider-man film franchise of JJ Jameson, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle. throwing his head back and laughing, as a reaction to the caption: “All of you reading the part ‘No kids 12 & below’ in the cinema SOP:”, as many people seemed to welcome the move.

GSCinemas addresses netizens
Image adapted from: GSCinemas

Netizens have mixed reactions over SOP announcement

Many netizens took the to comments section to share anecdotes how their movie experience were disrupted by children who ran up and down the aisles unsupervised, and those who kicked on the back of their chairs.

Some also shared that they could hear kids at screenings for R-rated horror films. Netizen Charles Lee, in particular, said he once encountered people who brought babies to watch The Conjuring, and expressed his confusion at the move.

Netizens react to GSCinemas strict SOPs
Image adapted from: Charles Lee

With a slew of Disney films set to be released in the coming months, including a live-action Mulan, some were just pleased that they could now unleash their inner child and “watch Disney films in peace”, as Adam Shamsul Anwar said.

Netizens react to GSCinemas strict SOPs
Netizen Adam Shamsul Anwar commented: “Finally. Can watch Disney movies in peace.”
Image adapted from: Adam Shamsul Anwar

But netizen Andrew Tan was more empathetic. To those who were against bringing kids to cinemas, he gentle reminded them that: “We were all kids once. Thanks to my parents for bringing me to [the] cinema. That’s where I fell in love with [it].”

Netizens react to SOPs
Image adapted from: Andrew Tan

There were also others who called for wider bans on all disruptive moviegoers, rather than just the children and elderly.

Facebook user Keni Chi said, “Those who kick chairs, whisper loudly, and [do] not silence their phones should be escorted out too.”

Rowdy moviegoers
Image adapted from: Keni Chi

In the end, there was so much activity erupting in the thread that Facebook user Luna G Luna G jokingly likened the discussion to “World War 3”.

Netizens react to GSCinemas strict SOPs
Luna G Luna G commented: “It’s always fun to see netizens having a World War 3 over these issues”.
Image adapted from: Luna G Luna G

GSCinemas’ new SOPs receive mixed reactions from Malaysians

No doubt, we have all welcomed the news of cinemas reopening with glee. But as the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over, these SOPs to be implemented by our local cinemas – including the stricter ones at GSCinemas – are all in a bid to keep the public safe at this time.

So while we feel for those who share stories of rowdy moviegoers in GSCinema’s Facebook post, let’s remember that the children and elderly are not banned for their safety, and not for bad behaviour because people disrupt others’ movie experience come from all age groups.

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