China's eastern metropolis Shanghai will offer subsidies of nearly 18 million yuan (about $2.6 million) to cinemas that have been shuttered amid the COVID-19 epidemic.
The Shanghai Municipal Film Administration on Wednesday released a list of 345 cinemas that will receive the subsidies, ranging from large cineplexes to small start-up cinemas.
The administration said the exact amount of subsidies each cinema receives will be based on their scale, number of screens and box office figures in 2019.
Shanghai's cinema operators have described the subsidies as timely, as they struggle with zero incomes and mounting financial pressure following their closure in late January amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
"The subsidies will be of great help. Although not one movie has been screened, we still face expenditures incurred by our regular maintenance of equipment and the disinfection of movie halls," said Song Lihua, manager of a cinema affiliated to Shanghai Film Co. Ltd. at Guohua Plaza.
The COVID-19 epidemic has dealt a heavy blow to China's film industry, with cinemas closed, movies pulled from theaters and production halted for an extended period of time.
In April, the China Film Administration said relief measures, including tax relief for filmmakers and cinemas, will be introduced to boost the film industry.
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