Delhi allows cinema halls with 50% capacity, opens all weekly markets
The Delhi government on Wednesday permitted reopening of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with up to 50% of their seating capacity from October 15 and allowed all weekly markets to function in the city with immediate effect.
An order announcing the fresh relaxations was issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday. All such establishments, however, will remain closed in Covid-19 containment zones, the order said.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Twitter that the decision to reopen weekly markets, in particular, would benefit the poor, who relied on them for employment.
“Now all weekly markets in Delhi will open. Till now, only two markets per zone per day were allowed. Poor people will get a lot of relief from the markets being reopened. Cinema halls will also open from October 15. They have to follow guidelines issued by the Centre,” Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.
The DDMA’s decision came after the Centre on Tuesday issued guidelines regarding the operation of movie theatres and multiplexes. In Delhi, cinema halls, multiplexes and theatres are shut since March 12, much before the nationwide lockdown came into effect on March 25 to arrest the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
The standard operating procedures (SOPs) for reopening of cinemas, issued by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry, make it mandatory to have a six-foot distance between people watching films. It mandates staggered entry and exits from cinema halls, including intervals.
Sanitisation of halls after each screening is mandatory. Seats have to be left vacant for social distancing and marked with fluorescent markers and crowding in lobbies, common areas, and lifts is barred. The guidelines suggest longer intermissions to allow audiences seated in different rows to move in a staggered manner.
Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas, said they will follow the global standards of health and sanitisation which have been planned by the company in consultation with the Global Cinema Federation.
“We are all set to reopen in a phased manner, wherein the first phase beginning from October 15 will focus on rebuilding the trust in customers to normalise stepping out of their homes. Our idea is to give our consumers sufficient opportunity and reason to act as both, our health inspectors and auditors as well as our evangelists. We have some very promising content lined up in the coming months and are currently extremely grateful for all the developments in the favour of our industry,” said Dutta.
The multiplex association of India said in a statement: “We are committed to ensuring a safe, secure and hygienic cinema-going experience for the movie lovers…The permission from the Delhi governments to reopen cinemas will help to ensure that the cinema exhibition sector is able to quickly recover from the dire economic and financial impact of the epidemic. We look forward to welcoming back moviegoers to a safe and amazing brand-new experience at our cinemas.”
Weekly markets, the DDMA stated, will be selected by a joint team of district magistrate, district, DCP and zonal deputy commissioners of municipal corporations in consultation with resident welfare associations of the areas.
“In case it is observed by the joint team of officers that any weekly market is unable to function on its fixed/regular place or at roadside due to obstruction to traffic, strictly as per the SOP/guidelines of DDMA, then such weekly market can be allowed to function at some other nearby ground/school ground, purely on a temporary basis, where the SOP/guidelines of DDMA can be strictly implemented. If it is found in any market that vendors and/or customers are not following the instructions prescribed in SOP, such market shall be closed forthwith,” it said