New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In a major relief to moviegoers as well as the production houses waiting for the complete reopening of cinema halls, the Central government on Saturday evening allowed film theatres and multiplexes to open at full capacity from February 1. The order to allow cinema hall at full occupancy came days after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued new guidelines permitting theatres to operate at a higher capacity.

In regard of the new order, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has also issued a fresh set of guidelines and standard operating protocols (SOPs) for cinema halls and theatres to prevent the further spread of the ongoing coronavirus.

As per the SOPs by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, no film will be screened in the cinema halls falling in the containment zone area. The guidelines also stated that  all cinema halls and theatres will ensure the COVID-19 protocol including social distancing, face mask, sanitisation, installation of 'Aarogya Setu App', thermal screening at the entry-exit point.

Theatres will have separated seats, staggered show timings, and bookings, mandatory social distancing, and digital payments are being encouraged. These measures should be observed all the time. The States or Union Territories may consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment, the guidelines stated.

"No-contact transactions should be the most preferred mode for tickets, food, and beverages. Contact number shall be taken at the time of booking of tickets to facilitate contact tracing," the guidelines added.

In its last set of guidelines issued earlier this month, the government had allowed cinema halls to operate at a higher capacity. Apart from cinema halls, the government had also allowed swimming pools to remain open for all now.

In October 2020, the Centre had allowed cinema halls to operate at 50 per cent seating capacity. This move by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting should come as a relief to cinema halls that were closed for nearly seven months last year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even after opening they have been struggling with low audience attendance and very few new film offerings.

Indian film critic and trade analyst Taran Adarsh also shared the news on his Instagram handle. He wrote "BIGGG NEWS... 100% seating capacity allowed in cinemas/theatres/multiplexes. SOPs issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting."

Stakeholders will also be happy with this decision for increased capacity, as several big-ticket films including '83', starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, 'Sooryavanshi,' starring Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Singh, and 'Radhe', starring Salman Khan have been ready for months, awaiting release.


(With ANI Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan