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Karnataka’s Covid-19 advisory committee recommends going back to 50% seating in theatres

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is yet to take a call on the matter.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: March 31, 2021 8:03:29 am
Seats inside a movie theatre are sanitised during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Express Photo: Ashish Kale, File)

Karnataka’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has advised the state government to restrict audience capacity at cinema halls and theatres to 50 per cent in light of the rising infections across the state. The TAC has also highlighted the importance of alternate seating in cinema halls for the next four weeks, a period considered to be crucial in the ongoing second wave of the pandemic.

However, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is yet to take a call on the matter.

Earlier this month, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) — the municipal body governing Karnataka’s capital city — had put forth the same recommendation. “We are still unaware of the number of cases that have come from cinema halls, but it is a closed environment with 100 per cent capacity,” BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad said.

CM Yediyurappa had later clarified in a tweet: “No proposal has come to us regarding restriction of capacity in cinema halls to 50 per cent. Theatre owners and the audience must adhere to all protocols and should cooperate with the government to contain the spread of corona(virus).”

Earlier, Sandalwood actor Kichcha Sudeepa had requested Yediyurappa not to reduce the occupancy at cinema halls as it would affect the recovery of the film industry, which was adversely hit during the pandemic.

In February, the state government had allowed cinema halls to run at 100 per cent capacity for four weeks on a trial basis. The CM had taken the decision after a meeting with key office-bearers of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from the industry.

Cinema halls have been operating at full capacity across the state since then.

Meanwhile, TAC also recommended that schools and colleges hold only online classes for the next four weeks, except for batches that had to appear for key examinations. The panel of experts said offline classes should be allowed only for students of Classes 10 and 12 (those with board exams) in schools.

At the same time, it recommended that all colleges, except for health science students and those with examinations, migrate back to online sessions. The government is yet to take a decision on this.

Karnataka reported 2,792 Covid-19 cases on Monday. The districts with the most cases were Bengaluru Urban (1,742), Bidar (247), Kalaburagi (118), and Mysuru (110). At least 1,964 patients recovered from the virus on the same day, while 56,374 people were inoculated.

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