Indian cinema halls had started functioning with 50 per cent seating capacity in October after a seven-month lull due to the pandemic. And on Wednesday evening, the Union Home Ministry issued a new order regarding Covid-19 protocols and shared that theatres will now be allowed to operate with a higher seating capacity.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting will soon issue a revised SOP for cinema halls and theatres. The new guidelines regarding Covid-19 protocols will be effective from February 1 onwards.
The news was met with a lot of positivity by film distributors and theatre owners. Bihar-based exhibitor Vishek Chauhan called the decision fantastic news for exhibitors as 50 per cent occupancy was a barrier for big releases.
“We were actively working towards it. It is a great move on the part of the government. This was a big barrier for big films to release. Now, producers can plan big films as only those films can kickstart the industry. This is indeed a fantastic piece of news for the exhibition sector,” Chauhan shared with indianexpress.com.
Senior distributor-exhibitor Raj Bansal, who is the director of a multiplex in Jaipur, told indianexpress.com that the increase in seating capacity was a huge development.
“This is huge! If right now we are operating at 50 per cent, one can expect that it will go up to 75 per cent. If that happens, it will be superb. Master and Krack did very well at 50 per cent occupancy so with 75 per cent, one can imagine the business. This will also encourage big producers to release their projects,” said Bansal.
Film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi also welcomed the news and mentioned in a Twitter post, “Delighted to see this. Keeping my fingers crossed.”
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