Cinema halls in several parts of the country will reopen today after seven months in the shadow of the pandemic. Theatres and multiplexes, closed since March because of the coronavirus crisis, recently allowed to resume operations as per guidelines issued under Unlock 5.
Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka some of the states where cinema halls will reopen.
Theatres and multiplexes will remain closed in states like Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Chhattisgarh. Cinema halls in the northeastern states will not open on open today as the states have not issued any guidelines.
Fifty per cent occupancy, staggered show timings, social distancing, thermal screening, adequate protection gear for the staff, and compulsorily providing phone numbers for “contact tracing” are some of the changes movie-goers will see.
A recap of Covid-safety norms and punishment, in case they are not observed, would become a part of the customary pre- and post-show advertisements.
Floor and seat markers for social distancing, thermal scanning and “respiratory etiquettes” are among the things patrons will have to bear in mind after they are allowed entry on being cleared as “asymptomatic”.
However, there are no new releases in theatres this week. Several old films will be re-released. Sushant Singh Rajput’s last theatrical release Chhichhore, Kedarnath, Tanhaji, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, Malang, War and Thappad are among films that will be out on the big screen once again.
As compared to the pre-Covid days, shows at cinema halls will be much lesser in number, with screenings in most theatres only between 12 pm to 8 pm. To reduce contact, the centre’s guidelines promote use of digital payment systems in, increasing number of counters at the box office for single-screen theatres and frequent sanitisation of the area.