Cinema halls, theaters allowed 100% capacity from February 1
The central government has allowed cinema halls and theaters to function with 100% capacity from Monday (February 1). Cinema halls and theaters had been ordered shut when the COVID-19 lockdown came into force in March last year. However, as the lockdown was relaxed, the establishments were allowed to reopen and the seating capacity was raised to 50%. Here are more details.
The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a fresh Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for the operation of cinema halls and theaters. The guidelines state that no exhibition of films should be allowed in containment zones. States/union territories have been allowed to consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment. Respiratory etiquettes must be followed including the use of face masks.
The physical distancing of six feet will be mandatory outside auditoriums, common areas, and waiting areas. Spitting will be prohibited on the premises. People would be thermally screened upon entrance. The exit of visitors should be done in a staggered row-wise manner to avoid crowding. Staggered show timings shall be followed for multiple screens to avoid crowding.
There should be sufficient time intervals between successive screenings on a single screen. The guidelines promote the use of contactless digital transactions for payments for tickets, food, and beverages. Advance booking should be allowed to avoid crowding at counters. A sufficient number of box office counters shall be opened and the purchase of tickets shall be open throughout the day.
The guidelines also mentioned frequent sanitization of the entire premises, common facilities, and all points which come into human contact, such as, handles, railings, etc. Auditoriums should be sanitized after every screening. Measures should also be taken for public awareness against COVID-19.
The use of Aarogya Setu should be advised to all. The audience may be encouraged to avoid movement during the intermission. Longer intermissions may be used to allow the audience seated in different rows of the auditorium to move in a staggered manner. The temperature of air conditioning and humidity should be in the range 24-30°C and 40-70% respectively. Cross ventilation should be adequate.