Centre allows 100 percent theatre occupancy in cinemas
Theatres can function with full capacity from February 1; Ministry of Information And Broadcasting issues new detailed SOPs for cinema halls
The central government has given its nod for 100 percent occupancy in theatres from February 1. Earlier, on January 27, the Ministry of Home Affairs had released a new set of COVID protocols and SOPs, which stated that the theatre occupancy, which is currently at 50 percent, would be increased.
Now, the Ministry of Information And Broadcasting has also issued new detailed SOPs for cinema halls. Apart from the general guidelines like ensuring the availability of hand sanitisers, physical distancing, and prohibition of spitting, the new guidelines encourage online ticket bookings and compulsory sanitisation of halls after each screening.
Reacting to the news, Mariyappan, the proprietor of Albert Theatres, says the development is a "positive boost to the theatre industry," and that people will now be free of all inhibitions about entering theatre halls. He also adds that the new guidelines, with respect to the safety precautions and sanitisation, won't be too hard to get used to. "Maintenance, sanitisation, and safety protocols have become a part of our routine now. We've been doing it since theatres opened, so that won't be an issue. With big releases like Chakra and Jagame Thandhiram coming up, this announcement is a timely one," he adds.
Ruban Mathivanan, the owner of GK Cinemas, says the news will certainly induce new confidence in both the producers and theatre owners. "While all other businesses came back to normalcy, only theatres were restricted. Now, everything will get back to normalcy. This will definitely create a positive impact because producers will now confidently release their films in theatres."
The guidelines document mentions SOPs for air-conditioning/cooling in theatres as well. It states that the temperature setting of all air-conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30 Celcius.
The document also gives SOPs for the handling of the food and beverage area, staff-related measures, and more.