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Cinema halls to operate at 100% seating capacity from 1 February.

From February 1 onwards, cinema halls will be allowed to operate at 100% seating capacity. This was announced on Saturday by The Ministry of Home Affairs.

In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, new set of SOPs for cinema halls and theatres have been issued by The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

Following are some of the general guidelines:-

1. Outside the auditoriums, common areas and waiting areas at all times an adequate physical distance of at least 6 feet must be followed.

2. It should be mandatory for everyone to use face covers/masks at all times.

3. The hand sanitizers must be available at entry as well as exit points as well as common areas within the premises. Sanitizers will be preferable if available in a touch-free mode.

4. All the respiratory etiquettes such as covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow as well as disposing off the used tissues in a proper manner etc. are to be strictly followed.

5. Reporting any illness at the earliest to state and district helpline as well as Self-monitoring of health.

6. Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.

7. Advising everyone to install as well as use Aarogya Setu App.

The existing seating capacity of 50% inside the auditorium of the cinemas/theatres/multiplexes will be increased to a seating capacity of 100% according to the I&B order issued regarding the seating arrangement.

A Sigh Of Relief For Distributors & Owners :-

Film distributors and theatre owners have lionized and received this notification with a lot of positivity, as they were the ones who struggled a lot due to the shutdown since March due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

However, as government decided to open up the economy, cinema halls were allowed to operate at 50% seating capacity from October, 2020.

Producers Guild of India said in a tweet that they welcome the decision of government to allow 100% capacity in cinemas from February 1. They expressed their gratitude to Mr. Prakash Javdekar, Minister of Information and Broadcasting and everyone who were involved in the decision making of recovery of film industry.

Akshaye Rathi, a film exhibitor tweeted that he is hopeful that from 1st February onwards this will open the floodgates for films to announce their release dates as well as bring massive numbers of audiences back to cinemas.

Film exhibitor Vishek Chauhan was happy that big films may now be able to plan the releases without constraints, now that 100% capacity is allowed.

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