The government Tuesday issued guidelines for the reopening of cinema halls and multiplexes from October 15. As per the new Unlock 5 guidelines, cinemas and multiplexes have been allowed to reopen with 50 percent seating capacity. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) earlier today released Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which need to be followed by all cinema halls and multiplexes.
So, what changes at the movies?
As per the guidelines, cinemas, theatres and multiplexes will be allowed to open from October 15, almost seven months since lockdown was imposed. Auditoriums, however, will be allowed to operate with only 50 per cent capacity.
Under the SOPs, adequate physical distancing is mandatory while seating – this in effect means every alternate seat will have to be kept vacant and clearly marked. Moreover, cinemas will also have to provide provisions for sanitisers and handwashing facilities. Use of the Aarogya Setu app is encouraged and all cinema-goers will be thermally screened before entry. Only asymptomatic individuals will be allowed to enter.
Can I still buy tickets at the box office?
While box office counters will continue to remain open, the ministry has encouraged online bookings as far as possible. Box office counters, the guidlines state, will remain open throughout the day and advance booking will be allowed so as to avoid crowding. Further, floor markers will be placed to guide physical distancing as well as for queue management.
What about food and beverages inside the cinema hall?
Cinema-goers have been advised to avoid moving during intermission and, as per the guidelines, no delivery of food and beverages will be allowed inside the auditorium. Only packaged food and beverages will be sold and the number of food counters will be increased so as to prevent long queues.
What else changes?
Show timings. Cinema halls will now have staggered show timings so as to prevent a large gathering outside the auditoriums before a film begins.
The box office and other areas will also need to be regularly sanitised. Inside the auditoriums, the temperature setting of all air conditioners will be between 24-30 degrees Celsius.
Public service announcements on wearing masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene will be made before and after the screening as well as during the intermission. You may also be required to provide your phone number at the cinema hall in order to aid in contact tracing should the need arise.
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