Cinema halls, theatres to operate at 100% seating capacity from Feb 1. Here’s SOP

Bhubaneswar: Good news for entertainment industry and cinema lovers as the movie theatres will function with 100 percent occupancy from February 1 this year.

Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change; Information & Broadcasting; & Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Prakash Javadekar, announced it today after issuing a revised SOP for the film exhibition in COVID-19 unlock process.

“The cinema halls will function with 100% seating capacity from February 1 adhering to all COVID norms. We will encourage for online booking of tickets for films at theatres,” said Javadekar.

To avoid crowding, the Minister said that staggered show timings shall be followed for multiple screens.

“The show commencement time, intermission period and finish time at any screen shall not overlap with the commencement time, intermission period or finish time of a show at any other screen in a multiplex,” he said.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting issued general guidelines for functioning of the theatres and cinema halls after COVID lockdown.

The Minister said that public health measures are to be followed to reduce the risk of transmission of Coronavirus and the measures need to be observed by all workers and visitors at all times at theatres.

General Guidelines for cinema halls and theatres:

1. Adequate physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed outside the auditoriums, common areas and waiting areas at all times.
2. Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory at all times.
3. Availability of hand sanitizers, preferably in the touch-free mode, at entry and exit points as well as common areas within the premises.
4. Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a
tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.
5. Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to state and district helpline.
6. Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.
7. Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App shall be advised to all.

SoP at Entry & Exit points:

1. Thermal screening of visitors/staff is to be carried out at entry points. Only asymptomatic individuals shall be allowed to enter the premises.
2. Provisions for hand sanitization should be made available at all entry points and in work areas.
3. Designated queue markers shall be made available for entry and exit of the audience from the auditorium and the premises.
4. The Exit should be done in a staggered row-wise manner to avoid crowding.
5. Sufficient time interval between successive screenings on a single screen as well as on various screens in a multiplex shall be provided to ensure row-wise staggered entry and exit of the audience.

As per the revised SOP, frequent sanitization of the entire premises, common facilities, and all points which come into human contact, e.g. handles, railings, etc. shall be ensured. The cinemas/theatres/multiplexes auditorium shall be sanitized after every screening. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the box office, food and beverage areas, employee and staff lockers, toilets, public areas, and back office areas shall be ensured. Measures for the safety of sanitization staff such as adequate provisions for rational use of gloves, boots, masks, PPE, etc. shall be undertaken. Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if any person is found positive.

Moreover, the show timings in the cinema halls need to be staggered to ensure that intervals of different shows do not occur simultaneously. The visitors will be encouraged to use cinema apps/QR codes, etc. for ordering food as much as possible. Multiple sale counters in food and beverage area be made available wherever possible.

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