Cinema halls in Maharashtra to resume from October 22 at 50% capacity
The Maharashtra government issued guidelines to allow the reopening of cinema halls, drama theatres and auditoriums, while not mandating entry only to fully vaccinated people. Patrons are, however, mandated to have the Aarogya Setu app showing “safe status” to be allowed entry. The cinema halls, single-screen theatres, drama theatres and auditoriums will open their doors from October 22 at 50% seating capacity.
The state government on September 25 announced that the state would allow the reopening of cinemas and auditoriums from October 22. With the second wave of Covid-19 infections receding, since mid-August the state has been providing gradual relaxation in restrictions that were in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Continuing to log cases around the 2,000-mark daily, the state added 2,069 fresh Covid-19 cases on Tuesday. The state also saw 43 fatalities, pushing the death toll to 139,621. The active cases in the state stood at 30,525. Mumbai, meanwhile, added 418 fresh Covid infections and reported two fatalities. In the past 24 hours, the state tested 116,775 samples and has a positivity rate of 1.77%.
The state issued the standard operating procedure (SOPs) on Monday stating that Aarogya Setu App showing “safe status” will be mandatory for all patrons. As an “alternative”, visitors can show their final Covid vaccination certificate before entering a cinema hall or multiplex or a drama theatre, the SOP stated. Even as entry in the malls is restricted to only fully vaccinated citizens, cinema-goers can produce a ticket to enter the malls where multiplexes are situated. Cinema halls, drama theatres and auditoriums are not allowed in containment zones.
“Aarogya Setu App showing safe status shall be mandatory for all visitors or in the alternative, visitors can show final Covid vaccination certificate... Entry to multiplexes situated in shopping malls will be allowed on production of movie tickets although entry in the shopping malls is restricted to fully vaccinated adults and children below 18 years of age,” the SOP stated.
However, all staffers, including those employed at the food court or engaged as ushers or cleaning services, must have received two doses of Covid vaccine and 14 days must have elapsed since the second dose, the SOP stated. Similarly, artists and staffers performing drams or engaged at drama theatres auditoriums must be fully vaccinated against Covid and 14 days should have elapsed. Child artists are mandated to have a “safe status” on the Aarogya Setu App.
The SOPs also added that no food and beverages would be allowed inside the screening halls. Any purchased packaged food and beverages would be allowed only outside the screening halls. The state government had mandated that the management of cinemas and theatres must keep show timings staggered to avoid crowds.
In a bid to ensure that there is no contact between people at the auditoriums and cinema halls, the SOP has encouraged the use of digital payment methods for booking tickets, payment for food and beverages. Cinema halls and drama theatres have to carry out sanitisation of the screening halls and auditoriums after every show, the SOP has mandated. “Frequent sanitisation 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 sanitised after every screening,” the SOP said.
Managements have been asked to have proper crowd management in the parking lots, thermal screening of visitors at the entry points, where only asymptomatic people will be allowed and entry of limited persons in elevators have been advised. Besides that, the regular Covid-appropriate behaviour including masking, physical distancing, covering of face while coughing and sneezing, regular hand sanitization etc are to be followed, the SOP stated.
Meanwhile, the state also issued specific SOPs for drama theatres’ staffers and artists. It mandated that only designated people would be allowed to operate curtains, backstage property, etc. Actors are mandated to wear a mask till they go on the stage. “Strictly no guests be allowed in the backstage, green rooms. It is recommended that the cast and crew should regularly have their medical check-ups,” the SOP stated. The management will have to carry out daily fumigation of the sets, the green rooms as well as the auditorium. “Child artists have to use Aarogya Setu App showing safe status. Their regular checkup has been recommended,” it further stated.