Mumbai: Cinema halls, auditoriums, amusement parks to reopen today; check SOPs

Covid-19: The reopening of cinema halls, drama theatres, and auditoriums in Mumbai are set to gradually bring the city's entertainment and cultural landscape back on track.
The BMC has allowed cinema halls, drama theatres, auditoriums, and amusement parks to reopen from Friday. (File Photo)
The BMC has allowed cinema halls, drama theatres, auditoriums, and amusement parks to reopen from Friday. (File Photo)
Updated on Oct 22, 2021 07:08 AM IST
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Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Sohini Goswami, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

In view of the easing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation in Mumbai, the city's civic body – the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) – has allowed cinema halls, drama theatres, and auditoriums, to reopen from Friday, albeit with pandemic-necessitated protocols like the mandatory use of face masks and social distancing.

In three separate orders, the BMC issued earlier this week the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the reopening of these establishments that are set to gradually bring the city's entertainment and cultural landscape back on track after a prolonged period of closure due to the infectious disease. The Maharashtra government has also allowed amusement parks to reopen ‘dry’ (without any water rides) from today.

Also Read | Mumbai airport handles 91,904 fliers in a day, a Covid-19 pandemic record

The BMC said its SOPs will be applicable to only those cinema halls, drama theatres, and auditoriums in Mumbai which fall under its civic jurisdiction. Last week, the Maharashtra government had issued broader, state-wide orders detailing the SOPs for all such establishments that can operate at 50 per cent of their audience capacity.

Now, in addition to the measures announced by the state government, the establishments falling under the BMC's jurisdiction will have to abide by the SOPs issued by the civic body, which include the mask mandate and social distancing norms.

Covid-19 protocols for cinema halls

According to the new SOPs, show timings in cinema halls will have to be “staggered” and the sale of only packaged food and beverages is allowed. However, these food items can at no point be taken inside the screening auditorium, where cinema-goers will be required to put their face masks up at all times.

Hand sanitisers should also be made available, both inside the hall as well as in each of the washrooms. Spitting will not be allowed anywhere on the premises and thermal check-ups will be mandatory at entry points. Moreover, according to the SOPs, air-conditioning temperatures inside the cinema halls should be fixed between 24-30 degrees Celsius.

Movie-goers should be vaccinated against Covid-19 with at least the primary dose, or their health status on the Aarogya Setu app must show “safe”, the SOPs detailed. All staff, including the workers at the food court and those involved with housekeeping, shall, however, need to be vaccinated with both doses of the Covid-19 shot, and at least 14 days must have passed since the second dose.

Amusement parks to reopen ‘dry’

Although amusement parks in Mumbai are also set to reopen from Friday, no ‘water rides’ shall be allowed in view of the pandemic situation.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Covid-19 task force, chaired by Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, on Monday. “We are slowly relaxing the restrictions and the number of patients seems to be decreasing,” Thackeray told reporters after the meeting. “There is also a constant demand to extend the working hours of restaurants and shops.”

Earlier in the day, the chief minister met representatives of the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association in Mumbai and said theatres and cinema halls should constitute proper fire and structural safety checks ahead of their reopening.

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