Malaysia Reopens Cinemas as Curbs Eased for Creative Industry
(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia is set to reopen its cinemas as the government eases restrictions for the creative industry beginning Thursday, according to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Theater halls, art exhibitions in museums and galleries, and cinemas will be open to the fully vaccinated at limited capacity, said Ismail in a statement on Tuesday. Broadcasting, indoor busking and hotel performances will also be permitted, subject to virus protocols, he said.
The new rules will apply to states that remain under the first phase of the national recovery plan, including capital Kuala Lumpur, according to Ismail. They will come as a relief to more than a million people and 19,000 companies, he added.
“This decision is a part of the government’s ongoing efforts to stimulate the economy of the arts and creative industry,” he said in a statement. The industry contributed 2% or 29 billion ringgit ($7 billion) to the national gross domestic product in 2019, according to Ismail.
Malaysia is preparing for life with Covid even as daily cases remain elevated. Last week, Ismail eased movement restrictions in more states and announced plans to reopen the tourist haven of Langkawi island.
New infections have soared despite the containment measures, hitting a record 24,599 in a single day late last month and turning the country into Southeast Asia’s Covid hotspot. The nation added 18,547 cases Tuesday. Still, the virus’ effective reproduction rate, or R-naught, has fallen below 1 nationwide for the first time in months amid an increase in vaccination.
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