The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also issued a new set of SOPs for cinema halls and theatres to prevent spread of coronavirus
The Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Saturday permitted reopening of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with 100% seating capacity from February 1, 2021. This comes as a relief to the exhibition industry and movie producers. While the exhibition industry resumed film screening in October last year post shutting shop for seven months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the industry have been struggling with low attendance and no big-budget movie premieres since reopening.
“We welcome the decision of MIB India to allow 100% capacity in cinemas from February 1 and extend our sincere gratitude to Prakash Javdekar and everyone involved in facilitating this important step in our industry’s recovery,” Producers Guild of India posted on Twitter.
The ministry also issued revised standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be followed in cinema halls as per which theatres should have staggered show timings to avoid crowding and the commencement time, intermission period and finish time of a particular shows at any screen shall not overlap with any other show. Further, no films shall be screened in containment zones. All staff and viewers will have to follow measures such as adequate physical distancing of at least six feet, use face covers or face masks at all times and are advised to install Aarogya Setu App on their phones.
The centre has also asked the exhibition industry to deal with Covid-19 related stigmatisation or unruly behaviour strictly by coordination between the auditorium manager(s) and the local authorities. Further, it has asked States/UTs to consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment
Film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi took to Twitter and wrote, “100% capacity permitted in cinema halls from 1st February! Hope this can open the floodgates for films to announce their release dates & bring audiences back to cinemas in massive numbers!.”