The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has recommended to the Union Home Ministry that cinema halls all over the country be allowed to reopen in August.
Khare said that he has recommended that cinema halls may be allowed to reopen all over India as early as August 1 – or at the latest, around August 31.
The formula suggested is that alternate seats in the first row and then the next row be kept vacant and proceed in this fashion throughout.
Khare also said that his Ministry’s recommendation takes into consideration the two metre social distancing norm, but tweaks it gently to two yards instead. The Home Ministry, however, still has to revert on the recommendation. Cinema owners, present in the interaction, however, pushed back and said this formula is unwise and merely running films at 25 per cent auditorium capacity is worse than keeping the cinemas shut.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Tirupur Subramaniam, president of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association, said, “We are happy with the Ministry’s decision and keen to open theatres after receiving an official communication from the Centre.”