In a major relief to the cinema and entertainment industry, the centre has allowed cinema halls to operate with their full capacity starting from next month. In its new standard operating procedures (SOPs) for cinema halls and theatres, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting said that the auditorium of the cinemas, theatres and multiplexes have been allowed to operate with 100 per cent of their seating capacity. It said that the states and union territories may however consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment. Exhibition of films has not been allowed in the containment zones.
Informing about the decision, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the relief is a significant step towards return of normalcy after the pandemic. He said that the cinema hall and multiplex operators have been asked to endure staggered show timings and sufficient time interval between successive screenings to avoid crowding. Mr. Javadekar also emphasised on the need to promote online ticket booking systems in order to avoid crowding at booking counters.
Cinema Hall operators have been asked to maintain adequate physical distancing of at least six feet outside the auditoriums, common areas and waiting areas at all times. Use of face masks and strict adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour has also been necessitated. The SOPs have also asked Cinema Hall and multiplex operators in the country to conduct Thermal screening of visitors and staff at entry points and allow only asymptomatic individuals inside the premises.