New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Centre on Tuesday issued guidelines for the reopening of cinema halls, which have remained shut for over six months in wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the consequential nationwide lockdown. 

As per the orders issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, cinema halls, theatres and multiplexes will be reopening from October 15 and have been directed to operate with a maximum of 50 per cent seating capacity. 

Also, one-seat distance will have to be followed by all the cinema halls and theatres. 

I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said that it was mandatory for all cinema halls and theatres to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and SOPs issued by the ministry.  

"Cinema halls are shut for last seven months. They are now opening from October 15. For safety of people, we have come out with SOP to be followed," Javadekar said.

"Cinema halls shall be allowed to open with 50 per cent capacity only and people will maintain one-seat distance. Wearing masks at all times will be important," he added.

Briefing the press at his residence, the Union minister also said that online booking of tickets will be encouraged but box office will be open for single-screen theatres.

"In single screen theatres, ticket counters will be opened. However, we encourage online booking for contact-less transactions. Proper ventilation has to be ensured and temperature setting of all air conditioning should be above 23 degree Celsius," he said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had in its unlock guidelines issued on September 30 allowed reopening of cinema halls from October 15.

Last month, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare had suggested the Ministry of Home Affairs to reopen cinema halls across the country in a graded manner. To ensure social distancing in cinema halls, Khare had suggested that "alternate seats in first and next rows should be kept vacant". 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta