Longer intervals, staggered screen timings, pre-packed food: TN Government issues SOPs for theatre reopening
While multiple states have already opened up their theatres, it was just this month that the Tamil Nadu government announced its decision to do the same
Close on the heels of the announcement that theatres can be reopened in Tamil Nadu, the state government has now issued SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure) for the safe and proper functioning of theatres, both single screens and multiplexes. From regulated interval timings to restrictions on the food to be sold, there are a number of regulations that the government has planned to enforce.
Apart from the usual regulations about maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, and using sanitisers, theatres have been given guidelines on how to deal with a patron who shows symptoms of being infected by the coronavirus. The rules stipulate that such patrons be quarantined immediately, and the government be notified, and should any patron test positive, that the entire theatre be disinfected. Audience members have also been asked to observe caution, and desist from spitting and improper disposal of used tissue papers.
With only 50 per cent capacity allowed in the theatres, theatre management is expected to enforce this in alternative seats with unoccupied seats marked as empty. Tickets are to be sold, both in live counters and online, in accordance with this new seating arrangement.
The guidelines further suggest that in the case of multiple screens in multiplexes, the show timings must not overlap. No one screen's show start time, interval time, and end time must be the same as another screen; this is to ensure that the movement of multiple audiences can be controlled. Theatre management is also urged to ask patrons to exit the theatre in an orderly, row-wise manner, as opposed to crowding at the exits. To ensure no crowding during intermissions, the duration of the intervals is expected to be increased too.
The new regulations also govern food and beverages that are allowed to be served in theatres, and stipulate that only pre-packaged items are allowed.
Theatre authorities have also been advised to regulate the number of people in lifts, and keep a check on the health conditions of all theatre employees, including valet parking drivers. Patrons, for their part, are advised to use QR codes for buying tickets, food, and beverages. They are also urged to install the Arogya Setu app.
The government has also issued guidelines about the air-conditioning to be maintained in the theatres. While the temperature is to be maintained between 24 and 30 degrees celsius, the moisture levels should be 40-70 per cent, and it is advised that the management must avoid air recirculation as much as possible. Apart from these specific regulations, overall guidelines about standard safety procedures have been issued as well.