Union information & broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday announced that now cinema halls can operate with 100% capacity.
Javadekar also released a standard operating procedure (SOP) on preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 for cinema halls and theatres.
While addressing the media regarding the decision, Union minister Javadekar said 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 COVID19 are on the verge of ending.
The SOP comes in the backdrop of the Ministry of Home Affairs permitting the opening of cinema halls and theatres vide their order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) issued on January 27, 2021.
At the onset, the SOP states that no Exhibition of Film shall be allowed in containment zones and that States/UTs may consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment. The SOP states that hundred percent seating capacity is allowed inside cinema halls.
The SOP clarifies that all COVID19 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 the auditoriums, common areas and waiting areas at all times, spitting will be prohibited and usage of Aarogya Setu app will be encouraged.
Thermal screening of visitors would be carried out at entry and exit should 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.
As per the SOP, sanitization of the entire premises, common facilities, and all points which come into human contact such as handles and railings shall be ensured frequently and auditorium shall be sanitized after every screening.
The SOP has laid down specific measures for creation of public awareness against COVID19 by display of Do’s and Don’ts throughout the premises by way of announcements, standees, posters, etc.
The detailed SOP can be read the link below: https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/FINAL%20SOP%20for%20Exhibition%20of%20Films%20%281%29.pdf