1 min read.Updated: 31 Jan 2021, 11:55 AM IST Edited By Meghna Sen
Starting 1 February, full occupancy will be allowed in cinema halls while following all coronavirus-related protocols, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar announced on Sunday
In a fresh order issued today, the Central Government said cinema halls and movie theatres across India will be allowed to operate with 100% capacity from Monday, as a part of the phased ease of restrictions of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Starting 1 February, full occupancy will be allowed in cinema halls while following all coronavirus-related protocols, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar announced on Sunday.
"Online booking of tickets will be encouraged. Detailed guidelines have been released," Javadekar added.
Terming the move as "good news for cinema lovers", Javadekar said that the Union Home Ministry had given the nod to the decision of opening the cinema halls on 27 January.
Releasing the latest SOP for the functioning of the movie halls and theatres, the government suggested digital booking of tickets, staggered show timings and longer intervals.
"No-contact transactions should be the most preferred mode for tickets, food, and beverages. Contact number shall be taken at the time of booking of tickets to facilitate contact tracing," the guidelines added.
As per the guidelines, all cinema halls and theatres will ensure the coronavirus protocol including social distancing, face mask, sanitisation, installation of 'Aarogya Setu App', thermal screening at the entry-exit point.
The SOP said that there should be "proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises and physical distancing norms shall be ensured".
These measures should be observed all the time. the exhibition of films shall be allowed in containment zones. The States or Union Territories may consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment, the guidelines stated.
Important step, say filmmakers
The decision to reopen cinema halls that were closed for nearly seven months last year due to the pandemic has been welcomed by many including filmmakers.
Sharing the news on Instagram, film critic and trade analyst Taran Adarsh said, "BIGGG NEWS... 100% seating capacity allowed in cinemas/theatres/multiplexes. SOPs issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting."
The Producers Guild of India, a prominent film body, also welcomed the move.
Last year in October, the government had allowed cinema halls to operate at 50% seating capacity to maintain social distancing and avoid crowds as the pandemic raged. Cinemas and theatres across India were shut for several months under the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
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