Japan, the world’s third largest box office market behind North America and China, will see its first cinemas re-open this weekend following coronavirus shutdowns.
Toho Cinemas, the country’s largest chain, has confirmed it will re-open 10 venues on Friday, May 15. None of the venues are in Tokyo and, at the time of writing, no cinemas in the capital city were expected to re-open this weekend.
Toho is employing a variety of coronavirus preventative measures, including encouraging anyone with virus symptoms to stay away, or to contact a member of staff if they feel ill while visiting, having all employees wear masks and some wear gloves, using automatic ticket machines to avoid physical contact, encouraging regular hand washing, increasing ventilation, and keeping an empty seat between each sold seat for distancing purposes. Sofas and communal tables have also been removed from lobbies.
Aeon Cinemas, another of the country’s major chains, has confirmed it will resume operations at 27 theaters in 16 regions from May 18. It is also employing similar preventative measures to Toho.
This week, the Japanese government said it was looking to begin lifting its lockdown, which has been soft in comparison with many other nations, in certain parts of the country where the infection rate is slower.
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