In September, news that theatres in Maharashtra will open soon made the news and Bollywood lovers and makers began rejoicing. With the State’s theatres opening cinema halls and multiplexes from October 22, many films’ announced their release date starting with Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi led by Akshay Kumar.
While reports stated that Shetty had a hand in reopening theatres in Maharashtra, the state government had not released the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) until recently. As per reports, several theatre owners made it clear that they’ll wait for the SOPs and only then decide whether or not to open their doors.
As reported by Bollywood Hungama, the Maharashtra government has finally shared the SOPs for state theatres. As per the site, on October 11, the government released the SOPs and it demands that patrons should practice social distancing, wear face masks and use sanitisers inside the theatre. It also states that those who are fully vaccinated will have to display their Covid vaccination certificate.
Fortunately, even if one is partially or non-vaccinated, he/she can still enter the theatre, provided they show the ‘safe’ status on their Aarogya Setu app. The Maharashtra government releases SOPs for state theatres also says that even though several malls are only allowing fully vaccinated people to enter the premises, those who have not completed two doses can still enter the multiplexes. It also states that this can be done if they show their movie ticket at the entrance of the shopping mall.
The state issued SOPs also mention that the staff at the theatres has been asked to check the temperature of the viewers and allow only asymptomatic individuals inside. They have also been asked to operate at 50% occupancy and stagger show timings so that crowding doesn’t take at any point in the theatre. It also encourages viewers to make contactless payments.
It also states that the management of the theatres will have to sanitize the auditorium after every screening and also ensure regular disinfection. The staff is also required to be fully vaccinated and that they should have completed 14 days after taking the second dose.
Unfortunately, those hoping to enjoy the film in the theatre with popcorn, cold drinks, etc will be in for a disappointment as food and beverages will not be allowed in the screening auditorium. The circular from the Maharashtra government also makes it clear that the cinema halls can indeed open from October 22.
A trade expert said, “The SOPs were much awaited. Now finally, it’s on paper that cinema halls can open in the state from the 22nd. However, there’s no clarity yet on whether night shows will be permitted. I believe it will depend from city to city or district to district. We hope the district authorities and corporations also clarify this aspect immediately.”
As of now, the upcoming Bollywood films scheduled for release include Sooryavanshi – Nov 5, Bunty Aur Babli 2 – Nov 19, Satyameva Jayate 2 and Antim: The Final Truth – Nov 26, 83 – Dec 24 and Jersey – Dec 31.
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