Fears of coronavirus rebound prompt Iran to ponder new limits on cultural activities 

July 3, 2020 - 18:36

TEHRAN – Iran’s Coronavirus Combat and Prevention Headquarters is scheduled to hold a session on Saturday to examine the imposition of new limits on art and cultural activities as fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the country. 

Over the past few weeks, the outbreak appears to be growing in some provinces and the death toll continues to rise. In an effort to tackle the spread of the coronavirus, the headquarters will decide whether or not to allow art and cultural centers to continue their activities.

Alireza Vahhabzadeh, a health minister advisor, said that the headquarters has not made a final decision, but if the death toll continues to rise in some provinces, it will make a decision and extend restrictions in art and cultural fields.

Movie theaters, as well as theater and concert halls, resumed activities mid-June after a four-month-long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a meeting held at the Coronavirus Combat and Prevention Headquarters in early June, President Hassan Rouhani had said that movie theaters and concert halls could resume activities with 50 percent of their capacity. 

The Cinema Organization of Iran had announced earlier that movie theaters in the so-called “white areas”-- regions with no coronavirus hospitalizations in the past two weeks--were allowed to reopen.

The cinemagoers were told to observe social distancing, while the employees were asked to wear face masks and plastic gloves.

Fever tests before entering the cinemas, frequent sanitization of the halls and public restrooms, as well as the screening of a video on how to protect oneself from the coronavirus before the feature film are also among the regulations required by the headquarters.

In a letter sent to Rouhani earlier, the Association of Iranian Theater Owners asked for the coronavirus restrictions on cinemas to be lifted, and called for a reopening of theaters across the country based on health protocols during the pandemic.

The Cinema Organization of Iran has also announced that Iranian cineastes can resume their activities in the near future.

Photo: An employee wearing a face mask amid the fear of COVID-19 disinfects a theater in the northern Iranian city of Mashhad on July 2, 2020. (Tasnim/Nima Najafzadeh)
 

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