Large multiplexes are leaving no stone unturned to tempt movie buffs back to the big screen. Some of the elaborate arrangements include distributing PPE kits and disposable 3D glasses.
While the choice of protective gear has raised eyebrows with many arguing that PPE kits should be reserved for doctors, nurses and those at the frontline fighting COVID-19, citizens themselves are unsure of whether they would like to watch a film masked and gowned.
Both the Union and State governments have permitted cinemas to resume operations from October 15 onwards, with 50% seating capacity.
Multiplexes, including INOX and PVR, are making PPE kits available at counters for customers, who will have to shell out extra for them. “Wearing of PPE kits is optional. We have also put in place amenities to ensure that the kits are safely disposed of once used,” said one multiplex owner.
Other measures put in place include sanitising of seats after every show and daily mandatory health screening for all employees who will be in protective gear. To avoid crowding, staggered and different entry and exits, extended interval time, QR code and mobile-based food ordering system, dedicated food ordering and pick-up counters, contactless payment system and encouraged online bookings have been put in place.
A senior representative from INOX said that they will resume screenings at Lido Mall and Brookfield Mall from Thursday. Other INOX screens will gradually resume within the next 10 days. PVR Cinemas will have “goodwill screenings” for company employees, health workers, police force and others on Thursday, and will open to the public from Friday.
Arun Kumar B.S., owner of Santosh Theatre and past president of Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), said that positive experiences from cinema goers will be the game changer. Santosh theatre is all set to resume operations from Friday with the screening of the late Chiranjeevi Sarja starrer Shivarjuna. “All the precautionary measures, according to government guidelines, are in place. We are trying our best to provide a safe movie watching experience,” Mr. Kumar said.
Uday Garudachar, owner of Garuda Mall chain, said elaborate arrangements have been made to welcome customers. “With this, we are expecting business to pick up by Dasara and Deepavali, after which we will have Christmas and New Year. Let us hope that by that time, COVID-19 subsides,” he added.
Govt. issues SOP
The State Government on Wednesday issued an SOP for resuming screening of movies. It has asked cinema halls to maintain humidity range from 40-70% with temperature setting of all the air conditioning devices from 24-30 degrees Celsius. “Recirculation of air must be avoided to the extent possible and cross ventilation should be adequate,” the SOP read.
According to the SOP, only packaged food and beverages should be allowed inside the cinema hall. To avoid crowding at the ticket counters, the SOP has asked the ticket counters to be opened throughout the day though online transactions should be the most preferred mode.
Providing phone numbers while buying or booking tickets has been made mandatory.