Theaters will reopen with safety measures in place, says Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray

CM Thackeray says cinema halls in Maharashtra should start with proper fire and structure safety. Image Credit: Twitter/ @OfficeofUT

CM Thackeray says cinema halls in Maharashtra should start with proper fire and structure safety. Image Credit: Twitter/ @OfficeofUT

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said that theaters and cinema halls to reopen in the state from October 22 should begin with proper fire and structural safety checks.

During a meeting with cinema owners and office bearers of the exhibitors association here, Thackeray said a suitable solution would be worked out in coordination with the finance department to address the problems of single screen cinema halls facing financial difficulties.

“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today said that cinema halls in the state should start with proper fire and structural safety checks,” a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said.

A delegation of the Poona Exhibitors Association demanded that the state government provide concessions for renewal of various licenses as well as free renewal of cinema licences, and allow levy of a service charge of Rs 25 per ticket after payment of GST.

Nitin Datar, Nimesh Somaiya, Sadanand Mohol, Ashok Mohol and Prakash Chafalkar presented the demands on behalf of the association.

NCP President Sharad Pawar, State Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Transport Minister Anil Parab, Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil, Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray, Additional Chief Secretary to Chief Minister Ashish Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Vikas Kharge and Director General of Police Sanjay Dutt were present on the occasion. Pandey was present.

Sharad Pawar tweeted, “During the meeting it was assured that the state government would extend all possible cooperation to revive the film exhibition business.”

The chief minister had last month announced that cinema halls and drama theaters in the state can reopen from October 22 on condition that they follow all protocols required to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The Maharashtra government last week issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for cinema halls, auditoriums and drama theaters, allowing them to operate at half of the total capacity, the guidelines said.

Show times of cinema halls will have to be “staggered”, and only the sale of packaged food and beverages will be allowed. Food items will not be allowed inside the screening auditorium. The government had said that cinema halls in the Containment Zone would remain closed.

It will be mandatory for cinema watchers to wear masks. Sanitizers should be available in halls, toilets and other places.

According to the SOP, the viewers should be vaccinated against COVID-19 or should show their health status as safe on the Aarogya Setu app.

As per the SOP, the air conditioning in cinema halls should be set at a temperature of 24 to 30 degrees Celsius and the humidity level between 40 to 70 percent.

Maharashtra on Sunday reported 1,715 new coronavirus cases, taking the state’s infection tally to 65,91,697, while 29 deaths took the toll to 1,39,789, the health department said.

As of Sunday, Maharashtra had 28,631 active cases, it said.

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