Coronavirus Outbreak: TN orders closure of theatres, malls in border taluks of 16 districts
The CM has also ordered the thorough sanitation of theatres, malls, and places of worship in all other TN districts
To curb the spread of COVID-19 from the neighboring states, the Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has ordered the closure of all shopping malls and cinema halls in the border taluks of 16 districts (Theni, Kanyakumari, Tirupur, Coimbatore, Nilgiris, Krishnagiri, Tirunelveli, Tenkasi, Tiruvallur, Vellore, Tirupathur, Ranipettai, Erode, Dindigul, Dharmapuri, Virudhunagar) until March 31.
"Steps will be taken to ensure daily, thorough sanitation of theatres, malls, pubs, restaurants, and places of worship in all other districts in Tamil Nadu," the press release from the CM's desk read.
Tiruppur Subramaniam, the president of the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association, while welcoming the decision, points out that the press release has been widely misinterpreted. "Only the theatres in the border taluks of the 16 districts have been ordered to be closed. It will amount to a maximum of nine to ten theatres. For now, this won't have any impact on trade and releases. However, if the need arises, there might be more closures. We are ready to tackle it and will follow the government's instructions in this matter. Controlling the spread of the virus must be our top priority," he says.
Nikhilesh Surya, the owner of Rohini Silver Screens, Koyambedu, echoes Subramaniam's sentiments. "For the safety of the audience, we have been considering closing our screens in Chennai for some time now. We are yet to make a decision, but rest assured, we will follow the government and health ministry's recommendations." Nikhilesh agrees that he will face considerable losses if a blanket ban happens. "But, I think there isn't a choice here. We, as a community, have to fight it out," he says.
While early reports suggest that new Tamil releases might get postponed for a minimum of two weeks, a clearer picture is expected to emerge in the coming days.