As a part of Unlock-5, Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Tuesday released the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for cinema halls and theatres, which are reopening from October 15.According to the SoPs, only 50 per cent seating will be allowed of the total capacity and alternate seats will be left vacant for social distancing. Besides this, face masks will be mandatory inside the cinema halls. “All COVID-19 guidelines and standard operating protocols (SOPs) issued by Information and Broadcasting Ministry must be followed at all cinema halls and theatres,” said Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar.

“As per orders of the Central Government, cinemas, theatres and multiplexes will be reopening from October 15. Halls have been directed to operate with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity,” he added.As per the SOPs, it is compulsory to show a minute-long film or announcement before a show as well as before and after the interval, to spread awareness among people about COVID-19.

Moreover, only packed food to be allowed, and proper ventilation and air conditioner temperature in the range of 24 to 30 degrees Celsius will be maintained.Thermal screening should be carried out and only asymptomatic individuals will be allowed. Also, the installation and use of the Arogya Setu App shall be advised to all, it added.Additionally, regular cleaning and disinfection of the box office and other areas will be done. As per the SOPs, the audience will be encouraged to avoid movement during the intermission.

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Last week, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued new guidelines to re-open more activities in areas outside the containment zones.“Activities permitted from October 15 in areas outside containment zones: Swimming pools used for training of sportspersons, cinemas/theatres/multiplexes with up to 50 per cent seating capacity, Entertainment parks and similar places, Business to Business exhibitions,” an MHA order read.

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