MUMBAI: Cinema halls, drama theatres and auditoriums across Maharashtra will reopen with 50% capacity from Friday with strict COVID-19 norms.
The Mumbai civic body – Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) – had earlier allowed the reopening of cinema halls, drama theatres and auditoriums with COVID-19 norms in view of declining COVID-19 cases in the state.
The BMC said its SOPs will be applicable to only those cinema halls, drama theatres, and auditoriums in Mumbai which fall under its civic jurisdiction. Last week, the Maharashtra government had issued broader, state-wide orders detailing the SOPs for all such establishments that can operate at 50 per cent of their audience capacity.
The Maharashtra government has also allowed amusement parks to reopen ‘dry’ (without any water rides) from today.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had last month promised to reopen cinema halls, theatres and auditoriums since the COVID-19 situation is now under control across the state.
It may be noted that cinema halls and theatres were closed since March 2020. They were reopened in November last year. However, they were closed again in April 2021 after the second coronavirus wave hit Maharashtra.
According to the new guidelines issued by the state government, people will have to abide by the Covid-19 guidelines.
The Maharashtra government took the decision to reopen the cinema halls which were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic as the numbers of Covid-19 cases are coming down in the state.
Here is the new SoP for cinema halls, theatres and auditoriums: –
-Only 50% of the seating capacity of people will be allowed to enter the cinema halls, auditoriums and drama theaters.
-Show timings of cinema halls will have to be “staggered”, and the sale of only packaged food and beverages will be allowed.
-Food and beverages can not be taken inside the screening auditorium.
-Cinema-goers will be required to wear masks.
-Sanitizers should be available inside the halls, toilets and in other places. Spitting should not be allowed anywhere on the premises.
-Thermal check-up will be mandatory at the entry. “Spectators must have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or their health status on the Aarogya Setu app must show as safe,” according to the SOP.