Cinema theatres to operate at full occupancy from Feb 1; new SOPs issued
The movie theatre business, which was severely hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, is expected to be back on track now as theatres have been given permission to operate at full capacity across the country.
Cinema halls would operate as usual on 100 per cent seat capacity from February 1. Following approval from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Union Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has also released guidelines regarding the operation of cinema halls on Sundays. Theatres, however, must strictly follow COVID-19 protocols during this time.
Thermal scanning is mandatory at the entry point of the theatres. There will be some time gap between two movie shows so that social distancing could be followed by people entering and exiting cinema halls.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday gave information about the new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) related to film screening. He said, "From February 1, all seats in theatres can be occupied. We are encouraging more and more online movie show bookings."
Sanitization as well as COVID protocols need to be followed. Cinema-goers can buy food items from the stalls at the theatres and take them inside the movie halls.
Javadekar said although these things are normal, the situation became abnormal so all necessary restrictions had been imposed. “Now, these restrictions are on the verge of ending. Therefore, cinema halls would operate at 100 per cent capacity.”
On January 27, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had approved the opening of theatres with 100 per cent capacity, after which the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued new SOPs and made the information public on Sunday.