Social distancing doesn't mean you can't cuddle while watching the romantic scenes of a movie at a public theatre or clutch a comforting companion during the scary scenes.
Now you may never feel alone again. At a shopping mall movie theatre in Changsha, Hunan province, the staff will take care of you. They'll provide cute, plush toys that you can squeeze to your heart's delight.
In the newly reopened theatre, 150 stuffed toys are placed on the seats before each showing. They come with a sterile wrapping that can be disinfected for the next customer. So hug away! You've got a bosom buddy for the next couple of hours.
"All the staff of our cinema were excited about the reopening in Changsha," said Xiang Meiling, a theatre employee. "We were concerned about customers who worried about the coronavirus, so we came up with the stuffed animals, named MOMO, to serve as companions."
And there's a bonus: The stuffed toys don't make any distracting noise during the show.
All the toys are covered with a skin-friendly, washable film that can be disinfected after each movie.
Before the reopening, all the shopping mall's theatres have been thoroughly disinfected. It takes around 8 hours for nearly 10 staff members to disinfect every corner of an auditorium that can accommodate 400 people for three consecutive movie showings.
The theatres also have collection cabinets for 3D glasses. After each use, the glasses are disinfected before being provided to the next batch of consumers.
"In addition, the cinema will extend the interval between each show that ensure that all areas are sprayed with disinfectant no less than twice a day," Xiang said.