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Distanced viewing takes star role

China Daily | Updated: 2020-12-02 10:04
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Indonesians watch movies from socially distanced tents in Bandung, West Java Province, on Nov 4. [Photo/REUTERS]

Editor's note: This news column showcases stories from around the world that bring a touch of positivity to the fight against the deadly coronavirus.

BANDUNG, Indonesia-Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Indonesian city of Bandung, neat lines of tee-pee-style tents are set up each evening on a patch of lawn in front of a large screen.

Known as Cinema Under the Stars, the outdoor camp-style movie space opened two months ago in the capital of Indonesia's most populous province of West Java with the aim of keeping people both entertained and socially distanced.

"Movies are usually watched indoors… but now we have this outdoor cinema with a view of Bandung," said 20-year-old Lidia Utari.

"And what's more interesting is that they use tents here, so I wanted to give it a try," she added.

Supplied with pillows, blankets and snacks, each tent is also equipped with hand sanitizers and disinfectant in line with health protocols, organizers say.

Moviegoers sit at the entrance to the tents with small tables in front with food and drink, all lit up by candlelight. No more than three people are allowed to use each of the 28 tents, which are spaced about 1.5 meters to 2 meters apart. The cost for each tent is 215,000 rupiah ($15.25) per movie.

Thirst for entertainment

"We started this business during the pandemic. That's why we were brainstorming about how to attract visitors as people have a thirst for entertainment in times like these," said Ilham Fahri Suhada, one of the organizers.

With more than 530,000 infections of COVID-19 and 16,000 deaths, Indonesia has the highest number of cases and fatalities in Southeast Asia.

Some health experts say limited testing and contact tracing, as well as a high positivity rate-the infection rate per person tested-indicate actual rates in Indonesia may be far higher.

Unlike many neighbors, the world's fourth-most populous country with 270 million people has not had national lockdowns but has instead imposed localized social restrictions.

While tents may not provide much additional protection from the virus, filmgoers seem content with the setup. "I don't have to worry (about COVID-19) here because they carry out proper health protocols," said 21-year old Juliatun Hasanah.

Agencies Via Xinhua

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