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Face masks, sharing contact info for tracing, only half seats occupied: I&B Ministry’s SOPs for cinema halls

Cinema halls will be permitted to open with up to 50% of their seating capacity. They will be sanitised after every show and thermal screening will be carried out.

Written by Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi |
October 6, 2020 11:25:51 am
chinese theaters coronavirus pandemicCinema halls will reopen from October 15.

Starting October 15, while you will be allowed to go to a cinema hall, which will be allowed to run only on half their capacity, no food will be delivered inside the halls, only packaged food will be allowed, face masks and thermal screening will be mandatory, show timings will be staggered, and your contact number will be taken to facilitate contact tracing later, if required.

These are some of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) released by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday. The SOPs have been released a week after the government announced that cinema halls will open starting October 15, among the last few activities that were still prohibited due to lockdown restriction.

The Home Ministry had said on September 30, “Cinemas/ theatres/ multiplexes will be permitted to open with up to 50% of their seating capacity, for which, SOP will be issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.”

However, no exhibition of films will be allowed in containment zones.

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The detailed SOPs for visitors and the staff at the theatres will include:

· Adequate physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed outside the auditoriums, common areas and waiting areas at all times.

· Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory at all times.

· Availability of hand sanitizers, preferably in the touch-free mode, at entry and exit points as well as common areas within the premises.

· Digital no-contact transactions should be the most preferred mode for issue/verification/payments for tickets, food, and beverages, etc. by using online bookings, use of e-wallets, QR code scanners, etc.

· Contact number shall be taken at the time of booking of tickets to facilitate contact tracing.

· Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.

· Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to state and district helpline.

· Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.

· Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App shall be advised to all.

· Thermal screening of visitors/staff is to be carried out at entry points. Only asymptomatic individuals shall be allowed to enter the premises.

· The Exit should be done in a staggered row-wise manner to avoid crowding.

· Sufficient time interval between successive screenings on a single screen as well as on various screens in a multiplex shall be provided to ensure row-wise staggered entry and exit of the audience.

· Seating arrangement inside the auditorium of the cinemas /theatres / multiplexes to be made in such a way that adequate physical distancing is maintained.

· Seats that are “Not to be occupied” shall be marked as such during booking (for both online booking and at the box office sale of tickets).

· Only packaged food and beverages shall be allowed.

· Delivery of food and beverage inside the hall/auditorium shall be prohibited.

· The show commencement time, intermission period and finish time of a show at any screen shall not overlap with the commencement time, intermission period or finish time of a show at any other screen in a multiplex.

· Measures for the safety of sanitization staff such as adequate provisions for rational use of gloves, boots, masks, PPE, etc. shall be undertaken.

· Public Service Announcements on wearing masks, observing physical distancing and maintaining hand hygiene as well as specific announcements on the precautions and measures to be followed within and outside the premises shall be made before the screening, during intermission and at the end of the screening.

While these are the Centre’s guidelines, the I&B Ministry said that states and Union Territories “may consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment.”

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