The National Film Authority – Action Group (NFA-AG), a pressure group largely made up of film industry stakeholder associations and guilds, has called the government to immediately take action to lift restrictions on our cinemas in Ghana.
Presenting the petition to the Presidency through the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng Gyasi on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, they said: “This is to enable the film industry to kickstart its process of recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic in line with many other sectors.”
According to them, a similar plea was made to the ministry on 4th August 2020 but they did not receive any response.
They also stated in the letter that they have “carefully evaluated the potential spread of the virus at our cinemas” and the attached risk assessment shows the residual rating as safe for reopening.
The group proposed an online booking system which will allow the cinemas and filmmakers to easily track and trace their customers, taking into consideration measures outlined by the cinema operators and submitted to the Ghana Tourism Board for consideration.
For the past weeks, the filmmakers have been remonstrating the ban of cinemas to operate considering the fact that the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has lifted restrictions on a number of indoor/enclosed sectors where large groups gather such as Churches, Mosques, Conferences, Award shows and drinking bars.
Passenger buses have been allowed to operate at full capacity.
“We believe the above sectors’ modes of operation are similar, if not same or worse than the cinemas. We gathered that, while enclosed space events such as Churches, Conferences, Award shows and their likes can admit a minimum of 500 and a maximum of 2,000 people or more per hall, the cinema hall has a maximum capacity of 300 seats. And with the 300-seating capacity, the cinema operators are willing to do only 50% per show, so as to enforce the social distancing directive,” the letter stated.
They assured that they will put in efforts and make it their utmost goal to inform and educate filmmakers and cinemas goers on the risks and how to minimise them at every opportunity.