- All halls are set to reopen with COVID-19 protocols in place
- The protocols also include contactless transactions and PPE kits with arm
- In most places, films will be screened only between 12 pm to 8 pm
Cinema halls will reopen in several states and union territories tomorrow. They were shut for the last seven months. The halls will operate on 50% seating capacity and shows will be much fewer in number. In most places, films will be screened only between 12 pm to 8 pm. Major states where cinema halls will reopen tomorrow are Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Cinema halls will continue to remain shut in Maharashtra, Telangana and Kerala.
All halls are set to reopen with COVID-19 protocols in place. From contactless transactions and PPE kits with armrest covers to UV-sterilised food items, all arrangements are being made to safeguard movie-goers.
NDTV visited the PVR cinema hall in New Delhi's Vasant Kunj to find out how the movie-viewing experience will change in "the new normal".
There are social distancing markers on the floor. At the entry point there are foot peddle-operated sanitiser dispensers and thermal scanning. Wearing a mask is mandatory. At the ticket counter, there are boards displaying QR codes for digital transactions. One just needs to scan the code and pay for the tickets and food online. The whole food menu will be available online. Customers can also buy PPE kits at the counter - Rs 30 for a kit with sanitiser, mask and gloves; Rs 50 for a kit with sanitiser, mask, gloves, armrest cover and back cover.
At the food and beverages section, all food will be sterilised under UV rays in a machine for eight minutes before being handed over to the customer. Popocorn containers will completely be covered with paper lids. Despite the extra arrangements, the cinema hall officials claimed that prices of tickets and food will remain the same as pre-COVID rates.
The hall will operate on 50% seating capacity. One seat gap is mandatory. Alternate seats are marked with "not to be occupied" labels. After every show, all seats in the hall will be sanitised with specialised spray guns by workers in full PPE kits.
The temperature in the hall will be maintained at 24-30 degrees Celsius as per the ventilation norms set by the Home Ministry. During pre-COVID times, it used to be 21-22 degrees.
Gagan Kapur, Regional Head of PVR Cinemas said, "We are very grateful to the government that it allowed cinema halls to reopen. The health and safety of our customers is the top priority. We have taken all precautions and made arrangements. They should be fully assured about coming to watch movies in theatres. We will also keep conducting regular medical check-ups of all our staff members."
For now, past releases like Tanhaji, Thappad, Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan and John Wick 3 will be available. It will be seen whether the cinema halls will see significant turnout because most of the films are already on OTT platforms.
Some halls will also hold movie festivals with old films under themes like 'Unmissable Hits', 'Yashraj Film Festival' and 'Nolan Film Festival'.
New Bollywood movies are unlikely to release until theatres are allowed to reopen in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.