Multiplex Reopening News: In the second phase of unlocking that commenced from July 1, multiplexes have not been given a go-ahead to resume operations. The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) has urged the central government to allow operation of cinema houses in non-containment zones in the country. They cited examples of countries which are allowing multiplexes to function following proper social distancing. Also Read - West Bengal Lockdown News: Vegetable Prices Continue to Soar, Normal Life Affected, Consumers Worst Hit
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The government has started unlocking in a phase-wise manner from June with opening up of domestic travel, offices, markets, shopping complexes, etc in containment zones.
Amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country under the government’s Unlock 2.0 guidelines, cinema chains have not been given permission to operate. The association said they find the move demotivating and disheartening as they believe cinemas and multiplexes can become an example of how social distancing guidelines and crowd control can be exercised in a safe and planned manner.
“As compared to the unorganised retail and shops that have been opened up, multiplexes and cinema are part of the organised sector, playing hosts to ‘revenue paying’ customers only and hence, in a better position to limit crowds unlike marketplaces and deploy all the mechanisms and guidelines for crowd control and social distancing,” MAI said in a statement.
According to the association, the multiplex industry in India employs over 2,00,000 people who are the backbone of the Indian film industry as they account nearly 60 per cent of revenues of film business.
“The livelihoods of more than a million people right from the spot boys to makeup artists, musicians, designers, technicians and engineers to cinema employees to directors and actors hinges on the survival of Indian cinema. The lockdown has literally brought the entire industry to a standstill with losses mounting every passing day.
“An early decision to allow cinemas to open up will only help the mobilisation of resources in the film industry’s ecosystem and would lead to gradual resurrection,” read the statement.
The MAI said the entertainment industry is undergoing challenging times and they require support from the government to bounce back.
Even after opening cinema houses, it will take another three to six months before things return to normal, they said.
Meanwhile, PVR Cinemas has tweeted a video describing how movie watching experience will change with staggered seating, advance sanitisation, mandatory masks, gloves and mobile foor ordering.