Cinema Halls To Operate At 100 Per Cent Capacity With Strict Adherence To Covid Protocols

by Arun Kumar Das - Feb 1, 2021 10:48 AM +05:30 IST
Cinema Halls To Operate At 100 Per Cent Capacity With Strict Adherence To Covid ProtocolsA PVR ICON theatre (@pvriconversova/Twitter)
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  • Cinemas across the country to operate at full capacity observing standard operating procedures.

Cinema halls across the country will be permitted to operate at full capacity with adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols, from today (1 February).

Apart from ensuring physical distance to avoid overcrowding, the theatres and multiplexes have been asked to stagger show timings and make available digital booking of tickets, according to a circular by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued new Covid-19 guidelines allowing swimming pools to be opened for all and cinema halls to have more than 50 per cent seating capacity. It said that standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be shared by the respective ministries.

The I&B Ministry has asked cinemas to ensure proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises and to restrict the number of people in elevators. It has been suggested the multiplexes maintain longer intermissions to avoid overcrowding in common areas, lobbies and washrooms.

Adequate physical distancing, mandatory face masks and sanitisation of auditorium after every screening are among the latest SOPs issued by the I&B Ministry, after the government allowed cinema halls to operate at 100 per cent occupancy.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar released an SOP on preventive measures to contain spread of Covid-19 for cinema halls and theatres. Announcing the decision on Sunday, he said now cinema halls can operate at full capacity.

He added that sanitisation and Covid protocols will have to be adhered to but people can buy food from the stalls inside the theatres.

The SOP states that no exhibition of film shall be allowed in containment zones, and that states/Union Territories may consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment.

The SOP clarifies that all Covid related safety measures must be adhered to inside the premises. The general guidelines specify that respiratory etiquettes must be followed including usage of face masks, adequate social distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed outside the auditoriums, common areas and waiting areas at all times. Spitting will be prohibited and usage of Aarogya Setu app will be encouraged.

Thermal screening of visitors would be carried out at entry and exit points and 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.

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

The SOP promotes usage of contactless digital transactions for payments for tickets, food and beverages etc. Sufficient number of box office counters shall be opened and 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.

The SOP calls for frequent sanitisation of the entire premises, common facilities, and all points which come into human contact such as handles, railings, etc, and auditorium shall be sanitised after every screening.

The SOP has laid down specific measures for creation of public awareness against Covid by displaying ‘dos and don’ts’ throughout the premises by way of announcements and posters, etc.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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