The central government has allowed full occupancy in cinema halls and multiplexes starting from February 1.
In this regard, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for cinema halls and theatres to prevent the spread of the ongoing novel coronavirus.
Indian film critic and trade analyst Taran Adarsh shared the news on his Instagram handle. He wrote "BIGGG NEWS... 100% seating capacity allowed in cinemas/theatres/multiplexes. SOPs issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting."
The SOPs also stated that no films shall be screened in containment zones. To ensure the safety of viewers, cinema halls have taken some other measures too apart from the mandatory wearing of masks and temperature checks. Theatres will have separated seats, staggered show timings, and bookings, mandatory social distancing, and digital payments are being encouraged.
In its last set of guidelines issued earlier this month, the government had allowed cinema halls to operate at a higher capacity. In October 2020, the Centre had allowed cinema halls to operate at 50 per cent seating capacity.
This move by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting should come as a relief to cinema halls that were closed for nearly seven months last year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even after opening they have been struggling with low audience attendance and very few new film offerings.
Stakeholders will also be happy with this decision for increased capacity, as several big-ticket films including '83', starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, 'Sooryavanshi,' starring Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Singh, and 'Radhe', starring Salman Khan have been ready for months, awaiting release.