- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 10, 2020

HONG KONG (AP) - Hong Kong’s first socially distanced outdoor entertainment park opened its doors to the public on Tuesday in an attempt by the entertainment industry to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic.

The park, called The Grounds, has a hundred socially distanced enclosed areas spaced 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) apart that seat two to four people.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of entertainment programs, including live performances and an outdoor cinema.

On Tuesday, groups of viewers gathered for an outdoor screening of the Steven Spielberg movie “Jaws,” a 1975 classic about a great white shark terrifying a beach community.

“It’s been a long hard year locked inside for the majority of it, so it’s nice to be able to sit outside with some friends, have a drink, enjoy the film,” said Beth Hackney, who was watching the movie.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a challenging time for the entertainment industry, according to Simon Wilson, managing director of The Grounds.

“We had to really rethink and be creative about a solution we can find to address the challenges of COVID-19,” he said. “We have to reinvent, reiterate and rejuvenate the events industry with clever concepts that can deliver safe entertainment for consumers to enjoy.”

The outdoor park, which is scheduled to operate for just two months, has implemented health measures including online pre-registration, health declarations, temperature checks, mandatory face masks, and hand sanitizers at each entry and exit point.

“The whole consumer market has shrunk due to the pandemic but it doesn’t mean all consumer products are affected,” said Eugene Law, business development director of China Galaxy International Securities. “For example, luxury spending has shrunk but entertainment and especially food and beverage have not.”

As such, businesses should be creative and come up with concepts such as outdoor parks or staycations and build up a long-term strategy, he said.

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