oppn parties Cinema Halls Should Not Be Allowed To Reopen Now

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  • India conducts a record 6.4 lakh coronavirus tests in a single day on Friday, 31st August
  • Fresh Covid cases top 57000 in India on Friday. More than 11 lakh cases reported in July
  • The US says that China's incursions in several countries were to see the world's reaction
  • The scheme calling for local manufacturing of mobile phones receives applications from Apple vendors like Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron, along with Samsung and some Indian players
  • The Enforcement Directorate has started an investigation into money laundering in the Sushant Singh Rajput case after reports of missing funds from his accounts and the FIR in Patna
  • 38 persons were killed after consuming spurious liquor in Punjab's Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur districts
  • Mehbooba Mufti to spend three more months in detention as the J&K administration extends its order under the Public Safety Act
  • The J&K administration has released Sajad Lone, the chairman of J&K People's Conference after about a year in detention
  • The defence ministry has written to the CBFC to say that web series on the army must seek approval without knowing that the CBFC has no mandate to regulate such content
  • Google and Facebook will now have to pay to carry news from mainstream media in Australia, the first country to enact such a legislation
  • Centre says herd immunity cannot be a strategic option for a country with a huge population density like India
  • Sushant Singh Rajput's father and the Bihar government move the SC in order to prevent his ex-girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty from getting the case transferred from Patna to Mumbai
  • ED seeks a copy of the FIR from Bihar police as rumours float about a Rs 15-crore illegal transaction in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case
  • Several Western Naval Command officers, including a captain, booked by the CBI in a Rs 7-crore fraud case
  • Hardik Shah, a 2010-batch IAS officer, is to be the next private secretary to the Prime Minister
Home Minister Amit Shah tests Covid+, admitted to hospital. He had attended a cabinet meeting on Wednesday
oppn parties
Cinema Halls Should Not Be Allowed To Reopen Now

By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2020-07-25 13:20:08

The Information and Broadcasting ministry has recommended reopening of cinema halls from August, subject to the approval from the Home ministry. It has prescribed certain rules that the hall owners will have to adhere to. Apart from the general sanitizing and physical distancing norms for all public places, cinema halls will have to keep alternate seats vacant in the first row and then the whole of the next row vacant and proceed in that manner. That would mean they would be allowed to have only 25% of the patrons against the number of seats they have.

Many cinema hall owners' bodies have rejected this formula and have recommended waiting for the reopening until at least 50% of the seats can be filled. They said that this formula was worse than keeping the halls closed. If the cinema hall owners are not allowed to increase ticket rates, they will suffer a huge loss for every show they run. But if tickets are priced higher, audiences might not show up in good enough numbers to make it a viable proposition. Hence, not many owners are enthused by the I&B ministry's initiative.

Further, the ministry did not specify whether food and beverages would be allowed to be sold inside the cinema halls. It is no secret that the highly overpriced F&B services are the backbone of multiplexes. They are not likely to reopen if these are not allowed. But carrying food inside the auditorium runs its own huge risk as people will be touching several items and then leaving them below their seats. The cleaning staff just removes the items but does not sanitize the area. In the new normal, it would be necessary to sanitize the auditoria after each show and that will add to the costs and delay the shows, limiting the number of shows that can be held each day. That would further reduce income.

The I&B ministry's move is ill-advised. Since India is likely to see Covid-19 cases peaking in September, a call on reopening the cinema halls must be taken only in the first week of October. With nearly 50000 thousand cases being reported every day, there is no point in opening potential new hotspots. There is no way to allow viewers on 50% of the seats without doing away with norms and there is no way the halls can make a profit by selling only 25% seats. Hence, it will be better to keep the halls closed until September. 

picture credit and courtesy: the hindu businessline