Government revises SOP for screening of films; cinema halls can now operate with full capacity

Sanitisation and COVID protocols will have to be adhered to but people can buy food from the stalls inside the theatres, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

(Representational Image: ACC_Unsplash)

Cinema halls can now operate with full capacity, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday as he released a standard operating procedure on preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 for cinema halls and theatres.

Announcing the decision on opening of cinema halls with full capacity, Javadekar said sanitisation and COVID protocols will have to be adhered to but people can buy food from the stalls inside the theatres. He added that the restrictions put in place due to COVID are on the verge of ending.

“Good news for Cinema lovers: Today, Issued the revised SOP for the film exhibition, 100% occupancy will be allowed in theatres from 1st February, but all @MoHFW_INDIA #COVID19 guidelines will have to be followed,” the Union minister tweeted.

The SOP comes in the backdrop of the Union Home Affairs Ministry permitting the opening of cinema halls and theatres vide their order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 27th January, 2021, according to a statement by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

The SOP states that no Exhibition of Film shall be allowed in containment zones and that states or Union territories may consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment. The SOP states that hundred per cent seating capacity is allowed inside cinema halls.

The SOP clarifies that all COVID related safety measures must be adhered to inside the premises. The General Guidelines specify that respiratory etiquettes must be followed including usage of face masks, adequate social distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed outside the auditoriums, common areas and waiting areas at all times, spitting will be prohibited and usage of Aarogya Setu app will be encouraged.

Thermal screening of visitors would be carried out at entry and exit should be done in a staggered row-wise manner to avoid crowding. e. Sufficient time interval between successive screenings on a single screen as well as on various screens in a multiplex shall be provided to ensure row-wise staggered entry and exit of the audience. Staggered show timings shall be followed for multiple screens to avoid crowding.

The SOP promotes usage of contactless digital transactions for payments for tickets, food, and beverages etc. Sufficient number of box office counters shall be opened and purchase of tickets at the box office shall be open throughout the day and advance booking shall be allowed to avoid crowding at the sale counters.

Stressing on the sanitisation of the entire premises, the SOP frequent sanitization of the entire premises, common facilities, and all points which come into human contact, e.g. handles, railings, etc. shall be ensured and auditorium shall be sanitized after every screening, the ministry added.


First Published:Jan. 31, 2021, 2:02 p.m.

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