|courtesy of on.cc|
The novel coronavirus has turned the Hong Kong economy into a toxic pool of water. With 5 cinemas under his Cinema City circuit banner, Raymond Wong Pak Ming decided to fight the pandemic himself! As early as February this year, everyday between each show the cinema has already cleaned every seat even more, the cinema also gave mask to each viewer, hand sanitizer and took temperature. He even spent over HK$ 1 million to bring in international medical class equipment to elevate the cinema's health standard and ensure the safety of viewers and employees. If anyone with an electronic monitor wrist band was found at the cinema, the cinema would immediately call the police.
Speaking of each cinema's ways to fight the pandemic, including alternative row ticket sale, Wong Pak Ming yesterday stated that the most effective way would be for the government to order cinemas to close 14 days to prevent mass gathering. "The Singapore government has announced that all cinemas must halt operation at the end of April. I really agree with their method. The Hong Kong government shouldn't be several beats slower. It should follow suit and order cinemas to close for 14 days. Then it can effectively prevent the pandemic from spreading!"
Wong Pak Ming pointed out that he thought about closing his cinemas, but because they were mostly in shopping centers, if he closed them he would need to compensate the shopping centers for their losses. Thus he did not follow through. Forcing cinemas to close would certainly lead to economic losses, Wong Pak Ming said, "If the government would order cinemas to close, it should have some financial assistance for everyone to get over the hard time together. The most important is the safety of the people."
Many film companies have been unwilling to release new films in this environment, making Mainland cinemas to extend the run of IP MAN 4: THE FINALE due to a lack of film to release. Hong Kong cinemas also ran into similar problems. Wong Pak Ming said, "If the government doesn't order the cinemas to close, we have to come up with ideas. April 1st would be the anniversary of Gor Gor (Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing)'s passing. We have restored two classic films THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR (BAK FAT MOR NUI JUEN) and THE PHANTOM LOVER (YEH BOON GOR SING) into 4K editions. Their runs will begin on April 1st. PHANTOM was the final film that Gor Gor made as a producer, it was well worth remembering."
As for Wong Pak Ming's suggestion, Anita Yuen Wing Yi and Karena Ng Chin Yu both thought it was a great idea. Ng Chin Yu said, "Public safety is the most important, closing cinemas for 14 days would prevent mass gathering -- a good way to prevent the pandemic." Yuen Wing Yi also felt that the suggestion could be viable, but the most important would be for everyone to take the full prevention measures. Health was the most important.