The Information & Broadcasting Ministry on Friday suggested that cinema halls should be allowed to reopen across the country from August.

While holding a close-door meeting with the CII Media Committee on Friday, I& B secretary Amit Khare recommended that cinema halls may be allowed to reopen all over India as early as August 1 or at the latest around August 31.

He also said that the final decision of opening the cinema halls from next month will be taken by his Home Ministry counterpart Ajay Bhalla.

According to the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, every alternate seat in a row should be occupied and then the next row be kept vacant and proceeding in this fashion throughout.

Khare said that his ministry’s recommendation takes into consideration the two metre social distancing norm, but tweaks it gently to two yards instead.

However, the Home Ministry has still not decided anything on the recommendation of the Information & Broadcasting Ministry and is yet to respond on the matter.

As per reports, the meeting was attended by media CEOs like N P Singh of Sony, Sam Balsara (Madison), Megha Tata, (Discovery), Gaurav Gandhi (Amazon Prime), Manish Maheshwari (Twitter), S. Sivakumar (Bennett Coleman and Co Ltd), and K. Madhavan, Star & Disney, and also Chairman, CII Media Committee.

Cinema owners, present in the interaction, however, is of the view that the suggestion of the Information & Broadcasting Ministry is not so good and showing films with fewer people would only result in losses.

After cinema halls across the country were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many films have been released on OTT platforms.

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