Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases following the emergence of the Omicron version, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday declared a ‘yellow alert’ under which schools, colleges, cinemas and gyms will remain closed along with other restrictions. . Following the announcement, the release date of Shahid Kapoor starrer Jersey was extended beyond December 31.
Movie theaters, which were rubbish for the better part of the pandemic that swept India in early 2020, went back to normal functioning in most parts of India in the past few months. The Multiplex Association of India has now issued a statement explaining what the reopening of cinema halls could mean for the film business.
Kamal Ganchandani, President, Multiplex Association of India said, “The decision of the Delhi government to shut down cinema halls in Delhi by implementing the ‘Yellow’ alert of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has created enormous uncertainty and caused irreparable damage.” Maybe Indian film industry.
“The period after March 2020 is unquestionably the most challenging period by Indian cinemas in its long history. After being allowed to reopen, cinemas have already demonstrated their ability to operate safely for the public and staff through the use of improved ventilation systems, improved sanitation and other safety protocols. Not a single outbreak of COVID-19 has been found in cinema anywhere in the world.”
“While we fully understand the need on the part of the government to take necessary preventive measures, we would request that cinemas should get equal treatment with comparable industries and institutions. Instead of shutting down cinema halls, we would urge the Delhi government to consider introducing a ‘double vaccination requirement’ to enter cinema halls, as is the case in some other states (including Maharashtra). Alternatively, the 50% seating capacity limit in cinema halls may be re-imposed. We call upon the government to recognize the unique social, cultural and economic value of the Indian film industry and provide necessary support to survive in this unprecedented period.”
In October itself, cinema halls, theaters and multiplexes in the city were allowed to function with full seating capacity. They were closed during the second wave of Covid in April and offered partial relief in July when the government allowed them to operate at 50 per cent seating capacity.