Theatres comply with 50% occupancy directive

Cinema halls with new seating arrangements.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

Theatre owners across Tiruchi prepared their halls for 50% occupancy as per instructions of the state government. The move comes at a time when audiences were just starting to return to theatres, they rued.

Fresh restrictions cause concern among owners as their source of revenue was heavily hit last year. Business picked up around Pongal when Master was released but recorded a dip since March. Theatres sported markings on alternate seats in the halls after a few months of relaxations. ‘We did not think we would have to do this again,’ a manager of a theatre near Chathram Bus Stand said.

S. Sridhar, joint secretary, Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners’ Association, said movie goers were their bosses, and their safety was a priority. ‘We need to think of this as a permanent solution. If we follow the restrictions and Tamil Nadu becomes COVID-19 free, people will return to theatres,’ he hoped.

Many theatres had sold tickets for Dhanush-starrer Karnan and were forced to cancel and modify ticketing, which will affect business. Theatre Owners’ Association has written a letter to the Chief Secretary and the Election Commission of India seeking exemption. ‘We have drafted a letter seeking permission to run shows only for Karnan with regular occupancy,’ he said. A similar plea was permitted in Karnataka when the state Chamber of Commerce there sought permission to exempt them from adhering to the 50% occupancy norm for a period of one week. ‘After the first week, they can enforce the norm,’ he said.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 12:08:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/theatres-comply-with-50-occupancy-directive/article34292235.ece

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