After the gradual opening of the retail, hospitality, and travel industry in the country, the government is planning to open cinema halls in Unlock 3.0. The Unlock 3.0 will come into force from August 1.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (IB) has proposed the reopening of cinema halls to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Cinema halls have continued to remain shut for more than four months in the country.
The Multiplex Association of India has drawn a set of Standard operating procedures (SOPs) in collaboration with its members. Industry leaders INOX, PVR Pictures and Cinepolis India have assured for paperless tickets seat distancing, staggered intervals and scrupulous sanitising as part of the safety protocol.
Algorithms for automatic seat distancing, regular cleaning and disinfecting of the cinemas, lobby area and touchpoints like railings and doors as well as basics like temperature scans will also be part of the SOPs.
The SOPs have been submitted to all central ministries, including Prime Minister's office.
"No two screens in a multiplex will start shows at the same time. Also, we will schedule intervals in a manner that they don't clash with each other and there is a gap of at least 15 minutes to half-an-hour. There will be more gaps between shows, giving us enough time to clean and disinfect without hampering with the cinema viewing experience," PVR Pictures CEO Kamal Gianchandani told PTI news agency.
PVR operates a cinema circuit comprising 841 screens at 176 properties in 71 cities in India and Sri Lanka.
INOX CEO Alok Tandon said, "We have also developed an algorithm where there is an automatic distance between two different bookings. We have put up touch screen sanitiser machines installed all over the cinema halls besides doing extensive sanitisation drive at different times of the day".
INOX has 626 screens across 147 properties in 68 cities.
Cinepolis India has collaborated with Vista software to ensure that adjacent seats stay unavailable at the time of booking tickets. Cinepolis, which operates 390 screens in India, has theatres in 18 countries.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to zero revenues for the first time ever for the multiplexes and theatres. Several big releases like Gulabo Sitabo and Dil Bechara have already released on OTT platforms. And films like Gunjan Saxena and Shakuntala Devi are set to release on Netflix and Amazon Prime, respectively.
(With PTI inputs)