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Cinemas to open on October 15; staggered shows, 50% seating among protocols

After a gap of more than six months, cinemas will open their doors on October 15 but it will not be the same again, with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry issuing a set of protocols that include 50% of seating, no food will be delivered inside the halls, only packaged food will be allowed, face masks and thermal screening will be mandatory, show timings will be staggered and your contact number will be taken to facilitate contact tracing later.

Watch | COVID-19: Guidelines for exhibition of films
 

Other than the usual physical distancing norms of six feet distance, compulsory face masks, providing hand sanitisers in the common area, as per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Ministry, every alternate seat has to be kept vacant, which means that when you and your loved ones go to watch a movie together, you will have to sit apart, with a minimum gap of one seat between each other.

“Seats that are “Not to be occupied” shall be marked as such during booking [for both online booking and at the box office sale of tickets]. The “Not to be occupied” seats inside cinemas/theatres/multiplexes should either be taped or marked with fluorescent markers to prevent people from occupying these seats so as to ensure adequate physical distancing at all times,” the SOPs state.

 

The cinema halls will have to ensure that there is no overcrowding in the common areas, lobbies and washrooms during the intermissions. This could even mean no sauntering out of the hall during the interval. “Audiences may be encouraged to avoid movement during the intermission. Longer intermissions may be used to allow the audience seated in different rows of the auditorium to move in a staggered manner,” the SOPs specify.

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During the exit too, the halls will have to ensure staggered row-wise manner to avoid crowding.

And unlike the pre-COVID-19 times, when multiplexes would have many movies running in many screens simultaneously, the I&B Ministry has strictly suggested that the show commencement time, intermission period and finish time of a show at any screen shall not overlap with the commencement time, intermission period or finish time of a show at any other screen at a multiplex.

The Ministry has also suggested that for booking tickets, digital and no-contact transactions should be preferred and sufficient numbers of counters at the box office shall be opened with adequate physical distancing, to prevent crowding during booking of tickets.

The theatres have to be sanitised after every screening. And no more slumping into the air conditioned comfort. The theatres have been advised to keep air conditioning within 24-30°C range.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 4:02:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cinema-halls-to-reopen-oct-15-onwards-with-50-capacity-one-seat-distance-javadekar/article32779974.ece

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