Germany’s leading film organization HDF Kino has raised concerns over a proposed model for the country’s exit from lockdown that places cinemas last.
Although no definitive plan has been drawn up by the government, a regional authority in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein has drawn up a four-step proposal for its gradual lifting of restrictions. Movie theaters can only open in the fourth stage, when infection rates drop below 50 per 100,000 people and remain stable for 21 days.
In response, HDF Kino today issued a statement saying the film industry was “appalled” to be “at the bottom of the opening schedule”. The organization said it demanded “equal treatment with comparable industries and institutions.”
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Christine Berg, HDF Kino board member, called the plans a “slap in the face for cultural and film companies” and said theaters have already demonstrated their ability to operate safely for the public and employees when the lockdown had previously been lifted through the use of ventilation systems, improved hygiene and tracking and traceability.
“During the entire pandemic, not a single case of Covid-19 has been known in the world in connection with a visit to the cinema,” said Berg. She added that a uniformed reopening schedule covering the entire country was also crucial for the industry.
Chancellor Angela Merkel recently extended the current nationwide shutdown until February 14, with a plan to meet on February 7 to discuss next steps.
Schleswig-Holstein’s plans depend on infection rates per 100,000 population, with levels of 100, 50 and 35 having to be achieved to move to the next stage of easing protocols. The measures can also be adapted depending on the situation in the hospitals and epidemiological factors such as possible new mutations. The earliest date for the first stage would be February 15; infection rates in the region currently stand at 92.7, although they are higher in other parts of the country.
The four steps are as follows: any rate above 100 will not see the restrictions lifted; if they fall below 100 for seven days, households will be allowed to assemble, schools will have limited but regular operation for certain age groups, and hairdressers and outdoor sports can resume their activities; if they fall below 50 for seven days, schools and universities will reopen more fully, stores and restaurants may reopen with restrictions; if they remain stable for 21 days below 50, tourism can resume thanks to rapid tests for Covid-19, restaurants and other forms of recreation can function more fully.
Schleswig-Holstein State Prime Minister Daniel Günther said the region would like to see uniform rules nationwide. The proposal will be discussed by other states and at the federal level before any plan is implemented.