Cinema halls reopen in Bengal with Covid restrictions

Kolkata, Oct 15 : Almost seven months after a nationwide lockdown was imposed, movie theatres and multiplexes have reopened in West Bengal on Thursday with strict Covid-19 safety protocols for the viewers.

The theatres have reopened with only 50 per cent of its total seating capacity so that there is a minimum distance of at least 3-metres between two people watching the movie.

"We are encouraging paperless entry and digital payments at the ticket counter.

One has to enter inside the movie theatre after thermal screening and a thorough sanitisation process.

Masks and gloves are also being distributed to every person at the entry point before getting inside the auditorium," said Puneet Gupta, spokesperson for INOX Leisure Ltd.

He said that all the standard Covid safety protocols are being maintained at INOX theatres across the country, including Kolkata, to avoid any health hazards.

People can book movie tickets online, through both website and mobile application. People can also drop in and get an e-ticket at the counter.

"We are expecting a decent response.

Most of shows will start from the afternoon. So, we would be able to share the response of tickets selling tomorrow," he said.

"It's a good news that movie theatres have re-opened with restrictions but we must keep the safety protocols in mind.

People should not think that they can once again go watch a movie with a bid group of friends and family.

We must take necessary precautions to avoid any kind of spread of Covid-19," said actor Saswata Chattopadhyay.

Sources said that every person entering the hall must have the Aarogya Setu app installed on his phone.

Person having fever or any kind of Covid symptoms will not be allowed inside the theatre.

As per guidelines, it is also mandatory to maintain a minimum of six feet distance between two individuals in the common area, waiting area and entry point at the cinema halls.

Private security personnel have been deployed in adequate numbers to monitor the movements of movie buffs who will throng multiplexes Thursday onwards in Kolkata and its adjoining areas, said an official of a city multiplex.

The temperature of the air conditioner should be set at 24-30 degrees Celsius and there should be cross ventilation in the theatre.

The screens should also be cleaned after every show and Covid-19 protocol should be strictly followed by the hall owners failing which action would be taken under the IPC and Disaster Management Act.

"It's a big positive for the audience and industry people as well.

It's a great feeling that life is slowly getting back to normalcy. I am sure that the hall owners and multiplexes will take necessary precautions and carry out sanitising drives.

Watching a movie in theatres has been the real mode of entertainment for people in India.

I guess people have become habituated with the safety guidelines in last seven months and going back to cinema halls will add on a whole new level of positivity in their social lives," filmmaker Dhrubo Banerjee told IANS.

Banerjee said that a lot people involved with Kolkata's Tollywood entertainment industry and re-opening of theatres would give them a fresh impetus in the new normal scenario.

Arijit Dutta, the owner of Kolkata's iconic Priya Cinema hall, said: "It's just a start.

The movie theatres are re-opening in phases. It's not that that all cinema halls and multiplexes have re-opened today. I'm sure the business will restore in next two-three months as the process has been initiated."



Source: IANS