Cinema operators call for support to fight Covid impact

Four leading film distributors and cinema operators in Vietnam, including CGV, Lotte, Galaxy and BHD, heavily affected due to continuing damage on companies from almost a year under coronavirus restrictions, have signed a petition proposing the Prime Minister to issue financial assistances and approve the film screening as an essential service.
Cinema operators call for support to fight Covid impact ảnh 1 A movie theater closed due to the pandemic (Photo: SGGP)

Businesses in the film industry have been severely hit by Covid-19 outbreak that was confirmed to have spread to Vietnam in January, 2020.

Tet and summer holidays are considered the "peak seasons" for movie releases in theaters. For the first time in several years, enterprises in the film sector get zero revenues in the two prime release seasons. Many businesses have less or even no income, but they still have to pay salaries, office rent, and others.

Theater operators have proposed the Government to offer a wide range of assistance measures to protect jobs for more than 10, 000 employees and help businesses recover from pandemic losses.

Supporting suggestions include launching movie promotional programs; providing financial support policies consisting of debt restructuring, reduction or exemption of loan interest rates, offering relief and VAT payment deadline extension to December 31, rent cut and others.

Director of the Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry's Cinematography Department Vi Kien Thanh expressed his support for maintaining film release in theaters under strict safety guidelines. However, the film screening has not been considered as an essential service amid the current complicated development of the Covid-19 pandemic. The reopening of movie theaters has to be complied with guidances of the Government and localities’ authorities, he said.

Cinema operators need to cooperate and join hands with local authorities at all levels in fighting against the epidemic and seek suitable measures to keep emplyees. The businesses’ proposals on financial aid measures will be sent to the Ministry of Finance and the General Department of Taxation for consideration.

The Cinematography Department will support businesses stabilize cinemas’ activities and implement supporting measures for the reopening of movie theatres, he added.