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There is "no scenario" where going to the cinema is safe, say scientists

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Experts have warned people about the risks of attending cinemas during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, stating that “no scenario” is safe.

Dr. Anne W. Rimoin and Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, both infectious disease epidemiologists whose research focuses on emerging infectious diseases (EIDs), have said that going to the cinema is the “last thing” they’d do right now, especially because people should be “avoiding indoor areas”.

  • Read more: Pandemic at the pictures: can social distancing work in cinemas?

Speaking to AV Club, Dr. Rimoin said: “I mean, the thing people need to realise is that there really is no zero-risk scenario during this COVID pandemic. We’re advising people to not interact with others beyond their immediate family or home bubble unless absolutely necessary, to limit gatherings of more than 10 people in any given space, and to avoid indoor areas.

“And you should definitely not be in an indoor area where you’d be taking your mask off, not even for eating. Movie theatres have all of that.”

A cinema in Madrid (Picture: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Dr. El-Sayed shared the same sentiments, calling it a “hazardous exposure”.

He added: “I’m a huge fan of movies. I really enjoy them. They’re a great way to have some fun and escape from the world—which we need, especially right now. But going to see a movie in an indoor movie theatre, it’s just about the last thing I would do right now.“

Dr. Rimoin pointed out that if a cinema is also selling concessions, people are going to be taking off their masks and eating — which is “tantamount to eating in a restaurant in a closed space — even worse because you’re basically in a closed box.”

Last month, Boris Johnson announced that face coverings will be mandatory in UK cinemas.

In a Downing Street briefing held on July 31, the Prime Minister also stated that face masks would be compulsory in museums, galleries and places of worship.

It comes after Cineworld launched a petition back in June aiming to make face coverings compulsory during the coronavirus pandemic. However, cinemas were initially allowed to open with no masks required.

UK cinemas were given permission to reopen from July 4 as part of measures introduced by the government to ease the coronavirus lockdown. However, many chains delayed opening due to major new releases like Tenet having their release dates moved back.

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