As the Central government’s Unlock 2 is coming to an end on July 31, several reports on Sunday suggested that the Ministry of Home Affairs is preparing guidelines for Unlock 3. While a few more restrictions are likely to be relaxed from August, some are likely to continue and after the gradual opening of retail, hospitality and travel industry in the country, the cinema industry is now optimistic that they will not be left out this time. According to reports, the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) is certain that cinema halls will be allowed to reopen for the public in the next phase of unlock. Earlier the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has proposed the reopening of cinema halls to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Concern, however, remains about the air-conditioning inside theater contributing to circulation of infected air if even one person is corona positive. Reportedly, Cinema hall owners are in favour of reopening theatres with 50 per cent seating capacity. However, the Ministry has suggested reopening theatres with 25 per cent seating initially and following all the social distancing protocols.
Officials in Ministry of information and broadcasting told CNN News18 that opening up of cinema halls has been proposed. "Yes, a proposal has been sent. The final decision will be that of MHA," an official said.
Not only cinema halls, gyms are also likely to be opened in the third phase. However, states might be given more authority to set their own guidelines according to their coronavirus situation. Metro trains and schools are likely to remain closed in Unlock 3.0.
Meanwhile, leading multiplex chains across the country are arranging paperless tickets, seat distancing, staggered intervals and scrupulous sanitising as part of the safety protocol.
All the cinema halls across the country have been closed since March 24 when the central government imposed nationwide lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
However there is no formal word from the government on reopening of gyms and cinema halls or whether the metros and schools will remain shut.