Mumbai: After almost seven and a half months of lockdown, cinema halls, theatres and multiplexes outside containment zones across the State will reopen from November 5 – with 50% capacity.
There are 470 single screen theatres, 40 touring talkies and 300 screens at various multiplexes across the state.
The Department of Cultural Affairs will soon come out with the standard operating procedure. However, owners and operators hinted that they will need at least a fortnight to restart operations, as they will have to mobilize workers, restore power supply and put in place necessary infrastructure.
The collective lockdown loss to theatres, cinema halls and multiplexes is estimated at Rs 1,500 crore, it is claimed. This recovery will be possible only after the state government allows them to run with 100% capacity and the audience, too, starts trooping in droves.
The state government has also allowed reopening of swimming pools for training of sports persons of state, national and international status from November 5. The Department of Sports and Youth Affairs will issue the protocol.
In addition, yoga institutes have been allowed to reopen; so, also all indoor sports like badminton, tennis, squash and shooting ranges, but with physical distancing and sanitation measures in place. The Department of Public Health will release SOP for yoga institutes.
However, the state government is silent on reopening of temples and other places of worship and commencement of local trains at full capacity.
According to the SOP for theatres and multiplexes, staggered show timings will be followed. The show commencement, intermission and the exit time at two screens will not overlap.
‘‘Since it is festive season, we expect visitors to come and enjoy films on big screens,’’ Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India President Nitin Datar told the Free Press Journal.
The managements of theaters and multiplexes will have to maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet outside auditoriums and in common areas, at all times; use of face overs/masks will be mandatory; availability of hand sanitizers, preferably in touch free mode at entry and exit points in common areas will be ensured; and spitting will be strictly prohibited. Further, thermal screening of visitors and staff will be carried out and only asymptomatic individuals will be allowed.
Digital no-contact transactions like QR code and e-wallets would be the preferred mode for payment of tickets, food and beverages. The ticket counters will remain open all day and advance booking would be allowed to avoid crowding.