Hundred per cent occupancy in movie theatres cannot be allowed yet, the Union home ministry told Tamil Nadu today. The AIADMK government of the state, which lifted the restrictions on movie theatres last week, was told to scrap its order making that allowance.
The Union home ministry has so far allowed 50 per cent occupancy in movie theatres outside containment zones as part of the phased unlock process.
Giving that reminder to the state, a letter from the Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the Home Ministry has extended those guidelines till January 31.
"State/UT governments shall not dilute these guidelines... in any manner and shall strictly enforce the same," the letter read, pointing to the ministry guidelines.
The letter also cited a Supreme Court order that asked states to enforce Covid-appropriate behaviour, including wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing.
"In view of the above, the GoTN (Government of Tamil Nadu) is requested to immediately issue necessary order to bring their guidelines in line with the MHA guidelines dated 28th December 2020 and inform compliance to this ministry," the letter read.
Tamil Nadu, which had opened cinema halls with 50 per cent occupancy in November, will have its assembly elections later this year.
The permission for 100 per cent occupancy was issued two days ago after requests from many film stars to increase capacity before Pongal.
As per the notification issued by the state government, in order to create awareness among the spectators, the precautionary measures for COVID-19 shall also be screened during the showtime.