Cinema halls can now operate at 100 per cent capacity, announcing this, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar released a standard operating procedure on preventive measures to contain spread of Covid-19 for cinema halls and theatres. He added that sanitisation and Covid protocols will have to be adhered to but people can buy food from the stalls inside the theatres. He added that the restrictions put in place due to Covid are on the verge of ending.
The SOP comes in the backdrop of the Ministry of Home Affairs order dated January 27, 2021, permitting the opening of cinema halls and theatres. At the onset, the SOP states that film exhibition shall not be allowed in containment zones and that states/UTs may consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment. While cinema halls can operate at hundred percent seating capacity, but all Covid-related safety measures must be adhered to inside the premises. The General Guidelines specify that respiratory etiquettes must be followed including usage of face masks, adequate social distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed outside auditoriums, common areas and waiting areas at all times, spitting is prohibited and usage of Aarogya Setu app is encouraged.
Thermal screening of visitors at entry and exit points would 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. Staggered show timings shall be followed for multiple screens to avoid crowding.
The SOP promotes usage of contactless digital transactions for payments for tickets, food, and beverages etc. Sufficient number of box office counters shall be opened and purchase of tickets at the box office shall be open throughout the day and advance booking shall be allowed to avoid crowding at the sale counters. The guidelines also call for frequent sanitisation of the entire premises, common facilities, and all points which come into human contact, e.g. handles, railings, etc. shall be ensured and auditorium shall be sanitised after every screening. The SOP has laid down specific measures for creation of public awareness against Covid by displaying Do’s and Don’ts throughout the premises by way of announcements, standees, posters.