Centre releases SOPs for reopening of cinema halls from Oct 15

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New Delhi (NVI): The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting today released the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for cinema halls and theatres, which are reopening from October 15.

Speaking at a media briefing, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “All COVID-19 guidelines and standard operating protocols (SOPs) issued by Information and Broadcasting Ministry must be followed at all cinema halls and theatres.”

“As per orders of the central government, cinemas, theatres and multiplexes will be reopening from October 15. Halls have been directed to operate with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity,” he added.

Javadekar informed, no exhibition of the film shall be allowed in containment zones.

He said that adequate physical distancing of at least six feet has to be followed outside the auditoriums, common areas and waiting areas at all times and spitting shall be strictly prohibited in the multiplex or theatres.

Javadekar also said that a face mask is mandatory and the provision for thermal screening and hand sanitisers should be in place at the entry and exit points of the theatre.

“The theatre also needs to ensure that it is sanitised after every show and proper hand gloves, PPE kits and boots are provided to the staff members,” he added

The Minister further stressed on the staggered show timings, which need to be followed for multiple screens to avoid crowding. The theatres need to collect the mobile number at the time of booking of tickets to facilitate contact tracing.

Javadekar, releasing the SOPs, said theatres need to promote digital bookings, while single-screen theatres need to open more booking windows to avoid crowding. “The booking counters need to remain open throughout the day and advance booking to be allowed to avoid overcrowding at the box office,” he added.

Laying the guidelines, Javadekar informed that only packaged food and beverages will be allowed and no delivery should be made in the auditorium. And, there should be multiple counters for food and beverages.

He also said that, as per the guidelines, a one-minute short film needs to be shown before and after the show to spread awareness about COVID-19. Also, the installation and use of the Arogya Setu App shall be advised to all.

Futhermore, pointing out at the temperature inside the theatre, Javadekar said, the temperature needs to be maintained between 23-30 degree Celsius and provisions for proper ventilation should be made in the theatre.

The cinema halls across the country have been shut since March 22 amid the spread of the COVID-19. However, the single-screen theatres and multiplexes are opening after a gap of almost six months.

-RJV