New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: After a 7-month long hiatus due to the coronavirus-mandated lockdown, cinema halls and movie theatres across the country are going to reopen from today (October 15). The Centre had earlier this month allowed the state governments to allow the resumption of cinema halls and movie theatres, under the Unlock 5.0. 

However, the cinema halls are only allowed to resume functioning with 50 per cent seats of their total capacity and strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols and safety measures decided by the government. Cinema halls across the country were closed in March when the Centre announced a nation-wide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.   

While theatres and multiplexes will remain closed in states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Chhattisgarh, they will open this week in several places, including Delhi and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, with stringent dos and don’ts in keeping with the new COVID-19 normal.

So as the cinema halls and movie theatres are all set to reopen from October 15, here are the guidelines and Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) issued by the government for their resumption:

Entry & Exit Points

- Thermal screening of visitors/staff is to be carried out at entry points. Only asymptomatic individuals shall be allowed to enter the premises.

- Provisions for hand sanitization should be made available at all entry points and in work areas.

- Designated queue markers shall be made available for entry and exit of the audience from the auditorium and the premises.

- The Exit should be done in a staggered row-wise manner to avoid crowding.

- Sufficient time interval between successive screenings on a single screen as well as on various screens in a multiplex shall be provided to ensure row-wise staggered entry and exit of the audience.

Seating Arrangements

- The occupancy of the cinemas/theatres/multiplexes shall not be more than 50% of their total seating capacity.

- Seating arrangement inside the auditorium of the cinemas /theatres/multiplexes to be made in such a way that adequate physical distancing is maintained. A model seating arrangement is attached at Annexure 1.

- Seats that are "Not to be occupied" shall be marked as such during booking (for both online booking and at the box office sale of tickets).

Note: The "Not to be occupied "seats inside cinemas/theatres/multiplexes should either be taped or marked with fluorescent markers to prevent people from occupying these seats so as to ensure adequate physical distancing at all times.

Physical Distancing Norms

- Proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises-duly following physical distancing norms shall be ensured.

- Number of people in the elevators shall be restricted, duly maintaining physical distancing norms.

- Efforts shall be made to avoid overcrowding in the common areas, lobbies and washrooms during the intermission. The audience may be encouraged to avoid movement during the intermission. Longer intermissions may be used to allow the audience seated in different rows of the auditorium to move in a staggered manner.

Staggered Show Timings at Multiplexes

- Staggered show timings shall be followed for multiple screens to avoid crowding.

- The show commencement time, intermission period and finish time of a show at any screen shall not overlap with the commencement time, intermission period or finish time of a show at any other screen in a multiplex.

Booking and Payments

- Digital no-contact transactions should be the most preferred mode for issue/verification/payments for tickets, food, and beverages, etc. by using online bookings, use of e-wallets, QR code scanners, etc.

- Contact number shall be taken at the time of booking of tickets to facilitate contact tracing.

- The purchase of tickets at the box office shall be open throughout the day and advance booking shall be allowed to avoid crowding at the sale counters.

- Sufficient number of counters at the box office shall be opened with adequate physical distancing norms, to prevent crowding during physical booking of tickets.

- Floor markers shall be used for physical distancing during queue management at the box office.

General Guidelines

- Adequate physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed outside the auditoriums, common areas and waiting areas at all times.

- Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory at all times.

- Availability of hand sanitizers, preferably in the touch-free mode, at entry and exit points as well as common areas within the premises.

- Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one's mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing of used tissues properly.

- Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to state and district helpline.

- Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.

- Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App shall be advised to all.

Posted By: Talib Khan