The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry on 6 October released Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for reopening of cinemas, making it mandatory to have six feet distance between people watching films. The SOPs mandate staggered entry, exits from cinema halls including during intervals. Sanitisation of halls after each screening would also be mandatory as cinemas are due to open for the first time in mid-October after seven-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I&B minister Prakash Javadekar released the SOPs that make the use of face masks and sanitiser mandatory in the touch-free mode at entry and exit points.
The SOPs prohibit spitting and mandate thermal screening of cine-goers as well as staff. Only asymptomatic individuals will be allowed into the movie halls, as per the SOPs. The entrances to the halls need to have designated queue markers.
The cinemas have been allowed to reopen with 50% of the seating capacity from 15 October.
The SOPs make it mandatory for seats left vacant for social distancing to be marked with fluorescent markers. They call for avoiding overcrowding in lobbies, common areas, and lifts. The SOPs suggest longer intermissions to allow audiences seated in different rows to move in a staggered manner.
In multiplexes, screenings, intervals, and exits will be timed to ensure that films are not screened together in different halls.
Digital transactions for buying tickets, food, and beverages would be encouraged and contact numbers will be taken at the time of booking to facilitate contact tracing. Booking windows will be kept open throughout the day to avoid crowding.
The halls will have to be sanitised after every screening and staff have to be provided with gloves, boots, masks, etc. Employees at higher risk like the elderly or pregnant will not be exposed to any front-line work.
Arogya Setu contact tracing app will have to be installed and updated by all employees. Announcements on wearing masks, observing physical distancing, etc will have to be made. Air conditioning is required to be maintained in the range of 24-30°C.
The norms also say that COVID-19 related stigmatisation or unruly behaviour shall be dealt with strictly through coordination between cinema managers and local authorities.
Multiple counters for food and beverages will be made available and online packaged food will be allowed. No exhibition of films will be allowed in containment zones.