Few days after the Ministry of Home Affairs announced that theatres across India can increase occupancy from the existing 50 %, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Saturday night announced that theatres will be allowed to run at full capacity starting February 1.
On Saturday night, the I&B ministry issued Standard Operating Procedures(SOPs)which have to be followed with the new guidelines. While the Centre has allowed to operate theatres with full capacity , States and UTs may propose additional measures as per field assessment. The general SOPs include that people maintain social distance at any given point, wear masks and theatres should have sanitisers at entry and exit points. Thermal screening of every visitor and staff is also mandatory.
Audiences may be encouraged to avoid movement during the intermission. Longer intermissions may be used to allow the audience seated in different rows of the auditorium to move in a staggered manner. Staggered show timings shall be followed for multiple screens to avoid crowding. Temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30°C, among other precautionary measures.
These new set of guidelines will bring in relief for theatre owners and exhibitors and filmmakers who have been long awaiting to release their films in cinema halls. Earlier this month, Tamil movie Master became the first major Indian film to hit the theatres. Despite the 50% capacity in theatres, the film did exceptionally well at the box office.
In Bollywood, films like Sooryavanshi, '83, Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai are some of the major films that are awaiting release in theatres this year.
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