PETALING JAYA: The SOPs which allow cinemas to be open but popcorn and mineral water to be ordered online together with the tickets do not make sense, says Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming.
He said this sector has suffered significantly due to the lockdowns, adding that this is a RM1.5 billion industry which employs more than 20,000 people.
“About 40% of its revenue is from food & beverage (F&B) sales at the counter, but SOPs for states in Phase 2, 3 and 4 state that F&B at the cinemas can only be ordered online while ordering the cinema tickets.
“This makes no sense, especially when dining-in is allowed in these phases. It is hard to see how ordering popcorn and mineral water by queuing up with proper physical distancing for a few minutes is more dangerous than dining-in and eating in groups without face masks for long periods,” he said in a statement.
Ong, a former deputy international trade and industry minister, said another rule which does not make sense is barring children below the age of 17 into cinemas.
He said since the process of vaccinating teenagers has already begun, it will only be logical to allow the fully vaccinated between the ages of 12 and 17 into the cinemas.
“Another rule that allows people to sit in pairs in cinemas only if they are from the same household or live at the same address also does not make sense.
“Sitting side by side in a cinema wearing face masks and not facing each other seems much safer than eating at a table at a restaurant facing each other and eating and talking without face masks,” he said.
Ong urged the ministers in charge of SOPs. comprising Annuar Musa, Hishammuddin Hussein, Tengku Zafrul Aziz and Khairy Jamaluddin, to make a more concerted effort to update these SOPs in the affected sectors so that the economy can recover faster.
“These are just some of the SOPs which do not make sense which affect just one industry.
“These SOPs, which were prepared on Sept 10, have not been updated as of today.
“I am sure there are other SOPs which do not make sense and negatively affect other industries.”
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