Theater owners call on Rouhani to lift coronavirus restrictions 

May 20, 2020 - 18:20

TEHRAN – The Association of Iranian Theater Owners has asked President Hassan Rouhani to lift the coronavirus restriction on cinemas, calling for reopening of the theaters across the country based on the health protocols during the pandemic.

In the letter published on Wednesday, they have explained the problems and the damages caused by the shutdown of the movie theaters across the country because of the pandemic, and asked the President for more help and support. 

“Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran and in the world, many big and small industries have been shut down, causing serious damage to the economy of the country,” reads part of the letter.

“Among all these are art and culture, which have suffered the most damage and a great loss,” it says.

“The big family of theater owners, which completes the distribution and screening process of films, has been ignored over the past three months, and there has been no word about their catastrophic situation in the country,” it adds.

“The theaters were closed before other cultural and economic and religious centers in order to avoid the spread of the new virus. However, there has been no attempt to reopen them, despite the announcement of different times and dates for them,” it adds.

“The cinema industry has lost over 40 percent of its annual income and over 5000 jobs have been lost directly and indirectly in this industry. There is no bright future for them, and considering the increasing daily costs these days, more support is requested from the managers,” it continues.

“The life of filmmaking depends on screening films and return on capital, and we ask the officials in charge to support this industry, otherwise the shutdown of theaters will soon effect the entire culture,” it ends. 

Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance canceled all art, cultural and cinematic events across the country in February in an attempt to stem coronavirus’ spread.

According to the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Abbas Salehi, the coronavirus outbreak in Iran is estimated to have caused an estimated loss of over 9,700 billion rials (Over $230 million) in the art and culture sectors by April 19, the end of the first month of the Iranian calendar year.

Photo: A theater in Tehran. 

RM/MMS/YAW

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