Tehran shuts down movie theaters less than a week after reopening

April 7, 2021 - 18:6

TEHRAN –All movie theaters across Tehran were shut down once again less than a week after reopening, following the increase in the number of people infected with the coronavirus.

Last week, the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control allowed movie theaters and art and cultural centers to reopen and continue their activities.

However, according to the announcement on Monday, the situation in Tehran is extremely severe and the Iranian capital is now situated in the “red” zone.

Therefore, all art and cultural centers and movie theaters are forced to go on lockdown in a preventive measure amid fears of coronavirus outbreak as the transmission of the disease in Tehran is seriously worrisome.

The Ministry of Health has classified districts based on the rate of coronavirus infections with red color indicating high risk, orange meaning medium, while yellow implied low risk and blue being the least.

The country has closed and reopened all art and cultural centers, museums, historical sites, universities, schools, seminaries, English schools, libraries, movie theaters, museums, mosques, beauty salons, and several other entities several times since last February due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last August, Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Abbas Salehi said that the coronavirus outbreak in Iran has caused an estimated loss of over 10,000 billion rials (about $45.5 million, based on the free-market rate) in the art and culture sectors by April 19, the end of the first month of the Iranian calendar year.

“For example, the Tehran International Book Fair had an estimated sale of 1200 to 1300 billion rials (about $5.5 to $6 million) last year. In the film industry, the sale was about 3 trillion rials (over $13.6 million),” he said.

Salehi said, “We have also experienced a big loss in visual arts, music, and theater, that is, about 120 theater halls have been closed just in Tehran. The same has been true in other cities.”

He added that insurance for the members of the Art Credit Fund, which was 350 billion rials (about $1.6 million), has been paid, and, based on an enactment approved by the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control, those interested applicants can register for a facility.

The culture minister further noted that a sum of 120 billion rials (about $5.5 million) would be paid to members of the Art Credit Fund as livelihood assistance, while 2000 billion rials (over $9 million) would also be paid as loans to the artists and owners of cultural venues.

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


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