Maharashtra, along with the rest of the country, closed its cinema halls and multiplexes in March due to coronavirus. And now, after almost eight months, they are set to reopen from November 5.
An order issued by the Maharashtra government reads that cinema halls and multiplexes can resume operations with 50 per cent capacity from November 5, but there will be strict rules that shall be in place.
The order reads, “Cinema halls/theatres/multiplexes/drama theatres will be allowed to open with 50% of their seating capacity in areas outside the Containment Zones only with effect from November 5, 2020. No eatables will be allowed inside the Cinema halls/theatres/multiplexes/drama theatres. The SOP for the same will be issued by the Cultural Affairs Department and local authorities. The Cultural Affairs Department will take into consideration the SOP issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Further, all norms of social distancing and precaution to prevent Covid-19 shall be followed.”
Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta shared his joy regarding the decision and tweeted, “So finally theatres opening in Maharashtra from 5th November at 50% occupancy. WE HAVE TO BE SAFE. WE HAVE TO WEAR MASKS. WE HAVE TO KEEP SAFE DISTANCE.”
Film exhibitor Akshay Rathi posted on Twitter, “Finally, the moment we have waited for! Cinemas in #Maharashtra are permitted to commence operations from tomorrow with 50% occupancy & detailed SOPs will be issued soon. A step towards the resurrection of the film exhibition sector. Thank you @OfficeofUTji & @AmitV_Deshmukhji.”
Manoj Desai, owner of Maratha Mandir, Gaiety Galaxy and G7 theatres in Mumbai, told indianexpress.com, “It is such a short notice. How do we single-screen theatres open in a day’s time? Which films should we show? We need to still discuss and chalk out a plan before we can even think of reopening the theatres.”
On behalf of the entire cinema exhibition industry we would like to thank @OfficeofUT & @AmitV_Deshmukh Ji for allowing cinemas to operate in Maharashtra from 5th Nov. Looking forward to the big screens lighting up once again! #LightsCameraAction 🎥 pic.twitter.com/dA4O8b8MY4
— Siddharth Jain (@JainSiddharth_) November 4, 2020
A few weeks ago, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray had held a virtual meeting with prominent multiplex and single-screen owners of the state and had informed them that the cultural department is working on a Standard Operating Procedure for the functioning of theatres.
“In a cinema hall, people are in a closed air-conditioned space for nearly two hours. Hence, we want to ensure complete cleanliness and sanitisation as well as physical distancing. There is a need to ensure only 50% seats are occupied,” Thackeray had said in a statement.
On October 15, the Centre had allowed cinema owners to reopen their properties with proper guidelines and precautions in place. As of now, theatres in states like Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu-Kashmir, Goa, Chandigarh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Punjab are functioning with 50 per cent occupancy.
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