The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, stating a second lockdown would result in "severe and irreversible consequences" for the cinema exhibition sector.
"Such measures that curtail smooth operations will not only deter genuine movie-goers and shoppers, who have slowly returned to cinemas and shopping centers, from visiting cinemas and malls, but also put into motion a downward spiralling effect on cinema industry and modern retail that could derail recovery of these segments," the industry body said in a statement, as quoted by Mint.
"A second lockdown will be extremely detrimental and would lead to severe and irreversible consequences for the cinema exhibition sector," MAI reportedly said in the statement.
The cinema exhibition industry is staring at possible bankruptcies, due to zero revenues for eight months in 2020 and inadequate revenues after that, MAI said.
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Media reports have suggested that a lockdown in Mumbai could take place, amid a sharp surge in cases in the country's financial capital and other parts of Maharashtra.
Currently, a night curfew has been imposed in Mumbai and other major cities in the state. Maharashtra recorded over 40,400 cases on March 28, the highest since the pandemic began.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on March 31 told CNBC-TV18 that a lockdown was less likely to be imposed in Mumbai with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) already in place.
However, he added that additional steps will be taken if the situation worsens.
In the statement, MAI said cinema halls are better equipped to handle crowds and ensure a hygienic environment, when compared with retail shops in high street areas, local trains, etc. If cinema halls are closed, it would be "highly discouraging and discriminating.""Given the dire economic and financial impact of the epidemic on our sector…we would like to request the government to...not issue a second lockdown order with respect to cinemas, multiplexes, shopping centers and malls…and to issue necessary orders to allow them to operate as per regular operational hours," MAI said, as quoted by Mint.