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Local movie theaters ready for ‘living with COVID’

A digital ticket booth in a local movie theater displays information about the so-called “vaccine-pass theater.” (Yonhap)
A digital ticket booth in a local movie theater displays information about the so-called “vaccine-pass theater.” (Yonhap)

As the South Korean government raised hopes for a gradual return to normal with their “living with COVID-19” scheme, cinemas will see many of the pandemic restrictions lifted starting Monday.

From Monday, multiplex operator CGV will be offering incentives for those who have been fully vaccinated in special “vaccine-pass theaters.”

“Moviegoers who have been fully vaccinated for 14 days can eat and drink in the theaters, which was strictly prohibited after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic,” CGV said in a press release Friday.

In the vaccine-pass theaters, there will be no requirements for leaving vacant seats in between audiences though mask-wearing rules will stay. The 10 p.m. curfew will be lifted as well, allowing for late time screenings.

All moviegoers are required to show either a vaccination certificate or a negative COVID test result to enter the vaccine-pass theater. The certificate can be downloaded from Naver, KakaoTalk and the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency’s Coov app.

The number of vaccine-pass theaters will start at 20-30 percent of total theaters and will gradually increase in compliance with the government’s “living with COVID-19” roadmap.

Another multiplex operator, Lotte Cinema, is opening vaccine-pass theaters from Nov. 3.

To boost the industry, the Korean Film Council is also offering 6,000 won discount coupons for movies.

“The discount coupons can be used in 521 theaters across the country, including at the major multiplexes CGV, Lotte Cinema and Megabox. We hope to see more audiences in the theaters and signs of recovery in film industry, which suffered greatly from the extended COVID-19 pandemic,” a Kofic official said in a press release Friday.

Discount coupons can be downloaded at Kofic’s official website. Each person can download a maximum of two coupons.

The coupons cannot be used for IMAX, 4DX and other special screenings.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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