More than 13,000 Chinese film and TV companies have cancelled or revoked their business registrations so far this year, a tally greater than the number of firms who did so in China in all of 2019, local reports said.
May has been the most brutal month for companies in 2020, seeing 26% of these closures.
The news comes as Beijing is undergoing a resurgence of coronavirus cases that will likely keep cinemas closed for the foreseeable future, despite a notice last month from the country’s top administrative body that re-openings would be permitted.
Theaters have been shut since late January, even though nearly all other types of businesses in China had resumed operating as the world’s most populous nation got its COVID-19 situation under control.
Beijing reported 36 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, meaning that a total of 79 cases have emerged in the capital since June 12. In light of the resurgence, municipal authorities on Friday officially stated that cinemas must remain closed.
Although the source of this new COVID-19 outbreak is unknown, it appears to be tied to a major market in the capital’s southwestern Fengtai district, and it has already spread to Liaoning and Hebei provinces.
The sudden resurgence of cases in Beijing indicates the possibility of a second wave of infections, and could lead to further lockdown and shutdown measures similar to those previously used to control the virus spread.
Chinese authorities have mobilized to test thousands of people from the Beijing district with ties to the market, with many tests returning negative as of Monday. Before this outbreak, the capital’s strict prevention measures had kept its total case count down to less than 500.
A larger resurgence of cases could further derail China’s efforts to get its economy back on track. On Monday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that retail sales fell for the fifth month in a row in May, dropping 2.8% year-on-year.