Unlock 5: No food delivery inside halls, only half seat to be occupied; government releases SOPs for cinema halls

New Delhi: Beginning October 15, while you will be permitted to go to cinema halls, will be allowed to run in a staggered manner with half of the capacity.

No food will be delivered inside the halls, just packaged food will be permitted, face masks and thermal screening will be compulsory, show timings will be staggered, and your contact number will be taken to encourage contact tracing later, whenever required.

These are some of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) issued by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday.

The SOPs have been released seven days after the government declared that cinema halls can be open starting October 15, among the last few activities that were still prohibited due to lockdown restriction.

The Home Ministry had said on September 30, “Cinemas/ theatres/ multiplexes will be permitted to open with up to 50% of their seating capacity, for which, SOP will be issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.”

However, no exhibition of movies will be permitted in containment zones.

The detailed SOPs for visitors and the staff at the performance centres will include: 

· Adequate physical distancing of atleast 6 feet to be followed outside the auditorium, common areas or waiting room at all times.

· Use of face covers/masks to be made compulsory all the time.

· Availability of hand sanitizers, ideally in the touch free mode, at entry and exit points as well as all the common areas to be covered in the premises.

· Digital no-contact transactions should be the most preferred mode for issue/verification/payments for tickets, food, and beverages, etc. by using online bookings, use of e-wallets, QR code scanners, etc.

· Contact number will be taken at the hour of ticket bookings to facilitate contact tracing.

· Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.

· Self-observing of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to state and district helpline.

· Spitting will be strictly prohibited.

· Installation and utilization of Aarogya Setu App will be advisable.

· Thermal screening of visitors/staff is to be carried out at entry points. Only asymptomatic individuals shall be allowed to enter the premises.

· The Exit should be done in a staggered row-wise manner to avoid crowding.

· Sufficient time span 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.

· Seating plan inside the hall of the films/theatres/multiplexes to be made so that there’s no flouting of social distancing.

· Seats that are “Not to be occupied” shall be marked as such during booking (for both online booking and at the box office sale of tickets).

· Only packaged food and refreshments will be permitted.

· Delivery of food and refreshment inside the corridor/hall will be denied.

· The show commencement time, intermission period and finish time of a show at any screen shall not overlap with the commencement time, intermission period or finish time of a show at any other screen in a multiplex.

· Measures for the security of sterilization staff, for example, satisfactory arrangements for reasonable utilization of gloves, boots, veils, PPE, and so forth will be attempted.

While these are the Center’s rules, the I&B Ministry said that states and Union Territories “may consider proposing extra measures according to their assessment.”

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