Finally, full house: Cinema halls, theatres to operate at capacity from February 1
The new guidelines say no films will be screened in containment zones.
February 01, 2021 / 05:40 AM IST
In a big relief to the entertainment industry, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has allowed 100 percent occupancy in multiplexes and cinema halls from February 1. The move is likely to boost the revenue for theatres that remained shut for seven months because of the coronavirus outbreak and reopened with only a fraction of the capacity.
"Seating arrangement inside the auditorium of the cinemas/theatres/multiplexes is to be allowed up to 100 percent seating capacity," the ministry said in its new standard operating procedures (SOPs) for cinema halls and theatres that were released on January 30.
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The SOP said that no films shall be screened in containment zones. All staff and visitors will have to follow measures such as adequate physical distancing of at least six feet, use face covers or masks at all times and install the Aarogya Setu app on their phones.
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"Efforts will be made to avoid overcrowding in the common areas, lobbies and washrooms during the intermission," the statement said, adding that longer intermissions may be used to allow the audience to move in a staggered manner.
Other measures include staggered show timings for multiple screens to avoid crowding, sanitisation after every show and air conditioning temperatures in the range of 24-30°C.
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Film distributors and theatre owners have welcomed the move. Producers Guild of India said, “We welcome the decision of @MIB_India to allow 100% capacity in cinemas from February 1 and extend our sincere gratitude to Honourable @PrakashJavdekar ji and everyone involved in facilitating this important step in our industry’s recovery.”
Theatres closed in mid-March when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. They were allowed to reopen in October.
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