Social distancing is back in cinemas and theatres, according to new guidelines on health measures that come into effect on Monday, leaving the entertainment industry confused and angered.
The standards for establishments requiring proof of vaccination for entry, issued by the Health Ministry, state that audiences in cinemas and theatres will have to be seated at least 1.5 metres from another person.
This has not been the case in previous months, with theatres and cinemas open to vaccinated persons seated right next to each other, confirmed Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association president Howard Keith Debono.
Infuriated that the situation was deteriorating for cinemas and theatres, he said “it is even worse than that,” pointing to discrimination against the arts and entertainment industry as opposed to others.
Mandatory vaccination is required to enter restaurants, for example, from Monday. But these have been able to return to pre-COVID-19 seating arrangements, doing away with the two-metre social-distancing rule.
The new conditions for theatres and cinemas also stipulate members of the same household can sit together in a group of no more than six, while only four persons not from the same household can opt to be seated together.
“MEIA is extremely concerned about the inconsistencies published in the latest standards for establishments requiring proof of vaccination for entry,” Debono said.
“The new mandatory guidelines are causing confusion for the arts and entertainment sectors, which will result in further discrimination towards our industry,” he said, pointing to the “erratic approach adopted by the authorities towards our sectors”.
The association demanded clarifications, urging the health authorities to align and update the latest standards for a level playing field across all industries.
It reassured its members it would take “strong” action to stop the ongoing discrimination, which had “no scientific basis”.
Debono insisted theatres had been proven to be safe and were not among the super spreaders.
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