After staying shut for more than six months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, theatres and multiplexes reopened to a poor response on Thursday. Multiplexes across the city resumed operations as per the guidelines issued under Unlock 5. However, theatre owners are hopeful of bouncing back to business during the festive season when new multi-star movies are scheduled to release.

Following the protocol, all theatres have maintained that auditorium occupancy will not be more than 50%: adjacent seats on either side will be left vacant. Floor markers will be placed at the ticket counter and food counters. Digital modes of transactions have been encouraged. The availability of PPE kits for purchase have also been made.

Safety protocol

“Security persons have been instructed to follow the safety protocol and people will not be allowed inside the premises without face masks and thermal screening. Show timing, intermissions, and exits will be staggered to maintain social distancing. Contactless sanitizer dispensers will be placed at entrances and in lobbies. There will be designated bins for masks, gloves, etc.,” said a staffer at INOX Eros One in Jangpura.

Alok Tandon, CEO of INOX Leisure Ltd, said: “The SOPs are simple and audience-friendly, and will ensure that the overall cinema viewing experience is safe and reliable. We are completely geared up and prepared for the new normal, which would assign top-most priority to safety and hygiene. Our preparations on the hygiene and disinfection front will set new benchmarks for any public premises, whether inside the auditorium or in our lobbies and F&B counters.”

PVR Icon at Vasant Kunj has encouraged the contactless sale of tickets by placing a QR code at the windows. They are also offering PPE kits, gloves, disposable 3D glasses, disposable seat, and armrest covers at extra cost to make the cinema viewing experience safer.

“Cinema-goers will be encouraged to download the Aarogya Setu app. Food items will not be allowed inside halls. At the food and beverages section, all food will be sterilized under UV rays in a machine for eight minutes before being handed over to customers. Enhanced air filtration systems are in place for the safety of visitors,” said an employee at a multiplex in South Delhi.

“We are hopeful to bring the crowd back to theatres with the new releases. Presently, we are screening Bollywood movies released a few months ago,” said a member of the PVR cinema in Ghaziabad.

Delightful offers

To draw more crowds, multiplexes are offering cashback on more than one ticket, discount food coupons and selling two movie tickets at the price of one. At PVR Plaza in Connaught Place, the ticket prices are just ₹99 flat for all categories.

Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas said, “We are pleased to be back and as we reopen slowly and steadily, ensuring the safety of our customers and employees is our first priority. Currently, the focus is on building consumer confidence and following the guidelines laid down by the MHA. We are optimistic that we will emerge out of this stronger and more robust. The screening pipeline looks promising and we are working very hard to bring the most exciting content to our patrons in the following weeks.”

 

This article was originally posted on thehindu.com on October 15, 2020, and has been reposted with permission. To read the original article, click here.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.