While the central government has allowed 100 per cent occupancy at cinema halls from February 1, movie theatres in Delhi have decided to maintain the distance and continue with the protocols with which they opened in October, which included 50 per cent occupancy.
“Even though the government has allowed, we haven’t got any instructions from the company about when to shift to full occupancy and the new protocols that will have to be followed then,” said a staff member at PVR Sangam in RK Puram. At the movie theatre, one continues to be welcomed with hand sanitisers and thermal checks and can purchase a PPE kit from the counter.
The Cinepolis at DLF Avenue at Saket is also functioning at half occupancy and with a limited menu. “While the central government has allowed full occupancy, we’re also waiting for guidelines from the state government before making the switch,” said a staff member at the outlet.
With new releases in the theatre, the crowd is also returning, albeit on a slow pace. “On the weekdays, occupancy is low. We get about 30-40 people in total for all the shows,” said the PVR employee adding, “however, we tend to go houseful on the weekends. “Whenever there is a new film, it tends to draw crowds. For instance, the latest Tamil action thriller Vijay The Master was crowd-puller,” said the Cinepolis employee.
However, there is one change at the PVRs. Previously, they were serving a limited menu of popcorn, nachos, soft drinks and burgers, but starting Monday, they have started serving their full menu with a variety of snacks, along with a special menu, which includes meal-in-a-bowl dishes, which could be ordered from the PVR Cafes through online food delivery services at home.
Meanwhile, those at the helm of the industry welcomed the decision. “With multiple vaccines beginning to roll out, cinema industry is well poised to quickly recover from the unprecedented impact of the pandemic… cinema operators now have the seating capacities to attract new films to their theatres. We urge all State Governments to urgently implement the new SOPs,” said Kamal Gianchandani, President, The Multiplex Association of India, in a statement. Alok Tandon, CEO – INOX Leisure Ltd, said that this would ease the apprehensions in the minds of content producers and studios, who may now announce the release dates of their movies. “We will remain committed to the protocols as advised, as guest safety and hygiene has always been a priority,” he said.
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