MUMBAI: Citing reports that claim the possibility of a statewide lockdown in Maharashtra from April first week, the Multiplex Association of India has written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urging him to keep cinemas open even if a lockdown is implemented across the state.
The letter, signed by Multiplex Association of India President Kamal Gianchandani, talks about the losses incurred by the film exhibition industry ever since the nationwide lockdown last year and requests the chief minister to allow the cinemas/ shopping centres/ malls to continue operating during the lockdown if is is implemented.
The letter mentions: “We write to you with reference to a recent news in circulation across multiple media platforms citing possibility of second lockdown in the state of Maharashtra from 2nd/3rd April 2021 for a limited period. The news also mentions that the shutdown is expected to be different from last year’s as it would not hamper economic activities like before, but essentially focus on preventing crowding for arresting the increasing transmission of Covid.”
“While we appreciate the efforts by the authorities to control the spread of Covid and are ready to support the Government and the District Administration to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic, we believe that the lockdowns (if implemented) are going to negatively impact the cinema, retail and shopping industry.”
Talking about the cinema exhibition industry experiencing a “possible bankruptcy”, the letter further reads: “Sir, the cinema closure ordered by the Maharashtra Government on 13 March 2020, followed by closures in other states across the country, have already brought the industry to an unprecedented situation. With Zero revenues in 8 months (13 March 2020 till 9 November 2020), and thereafter meagre revenues in the last 5 months (9 November 2020 till 31 March 2021), the cinema exhibition industry is now facing possible bankruptcies.”
“Given the dire economic and financial impact of the epidemic on our sector, we would sincerely urge the Maharashtra Government to allow the Cinemas/ Shopping Centres/ Malls to continue operating as per regular functioning and let the customers experience a controlled and safe movie-going and shopping experience. We also urge you to allow cinemas & malls to operate as per regular operational hours. This will also ensure that footfalls are dispersed and operations run smoothly.”
“As always, assigning top-most priority to the health and well-being of the movie-goers and our employees, we have implemented a safety and precaution plan with the most stringent SOP’s, to ensure a safe, secure and a hygienic cinema viewing experience for the movie lovers of our state.”
“As an important part of the Media & Entertainment Sector, the cinema industry has contributed towards the State Exchequer, even during times of economic slowdown. The industry also generates a huge number of employment opportunities and would continue to do so in the future across all parts of the State of Maharashtra.”
“In view of the above, we would like to request Government to favorably consider the following,
— to not issue a second lockdown order w.r.t Cinemas/ multiplexes/ shopping centers/ malls
— issue necessary orders to allow Cinemas/ multiplexes/ shopping centers/ malls to operate as per regular operational hours.”
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