Cinema theatres exempted from entertainment tax in Kerala till March: CM
Cinema theatres have been exempted from paying entertainment tax in Kerala till March this year, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a tweet on Monday.
“Exempted cinema theaters from entertainment tax from Jan to Mar(2021). Fixed electricity charges reduced by 50% for the 10 months during when theatres were closed. Validity of various licenses extended. Our creative industries will play a crucial part in the recovery,” he wrote on the microblogging site.
The announcement comes days after theatres in the state reopened on Tuesday with strict Covid-19 restrictions in place. However, not all movie theatres resumed operations as they were waiting for the government’s response on their demands to reduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the tickets, and exemption from entertainment tax to allow recovery. They had also asked for a waiver on the monthly fixed electricity charge below ₹50,000, allowing cinemas to make up for the losses they have incurred in the past nine months.
While other demands have been accepted, as indicated in the chief minister’s tweet, there is no clarity yet on whether the GST on tickets has been reduced or if it will be done in the coming days.
Currently, theatres have only been allowed to run on 50% occupancy which has created contention amongst theatre owners who have asked the government to increase seating capacity to 80%. Theatre goers also need to wear masks at all times and follow proper social distancing norms.
As per the standard operating procedures (SOPs) released by the government, theatres need to be cleaned and sanitised at regular intervals and show timings of the screenings also need to be staggered.