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KOFIC ensures clean cinemas, filming locations


The Korean government agency for the film industry sought to assure the public of safety inside cinemas and at filming locations, and promised measures to support the industry suffering from the prolonged spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Korean Film Council on Wednesday said it is operating a special safety management committee of health experts and members of the film industry to draw up new guidelines to be applied at the film scene in accordance with the government’s eased social distancing regulations last week.

“The key (in prevention) is for the healthy cinemagoers to protect themselves from the source of infection, and to prepare a responsive system to prevent a mass infection case where an infected person appears in the theaters,” Kim Hyae-joon, head of KOFIC’s COVID-19 task force and a member of the committee, said during a press conference Wednesday.

Experts from the committee stressed that as long as uninfected people have their masks on at all times, stay distanced from others when seated and do not eat or drink inside cinemas, then theaters will be safe from infection.

“Although the heating and air-conditioning systems vary according to each cinema, theaters themselves are mostly spacious, so there is less chance that people will be infected through close contact,” said Tak Sang-woo, a committee member and a research associate professor at the Institute of Health and Environment at Seoul National University.

Cinema operators must make sure that people maintain distance from each other while seated in the cinemas and ventilate the space and sanitize seats in between every screening session. Cinemas that have been maintained according to the guidelines will be given a “Clean Zone” mark by the committee starting this week.

The committee further stated that films shooting both indoors and outdoors could proceed if participants strictly followed rules. The studios must have a supervisor overseeing the health of the staff and all participants will be provided with a self-check health sheet. Those who are quarantined after showing symptoms will be given suspension allowance and KOFIC plans to request public locations, currently reluctant toward shooting, to cooperate for those studios complying to the safety measures.

Meanwhile, KOFIC’s reassurance comes as the film industry, one of the hardest-hit industries by the COVID-19 outbreak, faces another wave of depression following the recent emergence of a cluster of infections from Itaewon clubs and bars.

By Choi Ji-won (