Tamil Nadu government allows 100% occupancy in cinema halls
Ahead of the festival of Pongal, the Tamil Nadu government has increased the permissible occupancy in cinema halls from the existing 50% to 100%. This step was taken by authorities as big theatrical releases in South India are usually scheduled around this time. The government has cited the reducing number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state for the move. Here's more on this.
Decision of 100% occupancy came after theater owners' appeal
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, cinema halls remained closed for months and were reopened in October 2020. Now, the government of Tamil Nadu has granted the permission for full occupancy in theaters after appeals from theater owners' associations in this regard. Interestingly, the biggest beneficiary of this announcement would be actor Vijay's much-awaited film Master, which is set to be released on January 13.
Vijay had requested the CM to increase the occupancy
As reported by The News Minute, Vijay had last week met Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and requested him to ease the restrictions for occupancy in cinema halls, before the release of his movie. Vijay's Master and Silambarasan's Eeswaran are expected to release around Pongal.
'Precautionary measures for COVID-19 shall also be screened'
As per the government's order issued on Monday, "The seating capacity of Cinemas/theaters/multiplexes shall be permitted to increase from existing 50% to 100% by following the Standard Operating Procedure issued already (sic)." "Further, in order to create awareness among the spectators, the precautionary measures for COVID-19 shall also be screened during the showtime (sic)," the order further stated.
Producers and theater owners are exhilarated with this news
Abirami Ramanathan, a senior film producer and distributor, told Zee Media, "We welcome this announcement as only big films will bring in crowds to theaters. As crowds start coming in for big films, even the other films will get patronage (sic)."
The decision, however, invited backlash from some corners
While the film fraternity and theater owners are celebrating the allowance of full occupancy, it has also raised concern among others. With the existing risk of COVID-19 and the new strain of coronavirus found in India, many pointed out that the move could prove dangerous. In fact, new clusters of the deadly virus in IIT-Madras and some hotels of Chennai have recently emerged.