The police sealed two cinema halls in Paralakhemundi in Odisha's Gajapati district for violating COVID guidelines and two others for not renewing the licence, in the last two days, said Achyutananda Jani, Additional Tahasildar and Executive Magistrate Paralakhemundi. Commenting on the development, Jani said, "The Jai Maa and Laxmi cinema halls have been sealed until further orders by the administration. The enforcement team found a huge crowd thronged the cinema halls violating the social distancing rules. The police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the huge crowd which had thronged the cinema hall to watch a Telugu movie."
Two more cinema halls, namely, AJ Cinema and Natraj Cinema were also sealed for not renewing the licences to exhibit films, said Jani.
According to reports, despite awareness drives and strict enforcement, people in various parts of the state continue to flout the COVID-19 norms.
Cinema halls screening the Pawan Kalyan starrer "Vakeel Saab" that opened Friday, witnessed a rush of moviegoers at the ticket counters.
The state is now witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases which has forced the authorities to take stringent actions to curb the spread of the disease.
The state government increased the penalty amount to Rs 2,000 for the first and second offence for people not wearing masks.
A fine of Rs 5,000 has been levied on people for subsequent violations.
Meanwhile, Odisha's Gajapti district reported 14 new COVID cases on Sunday, said the State Information and Public Relations Department.
According to the department, Odisha recorded 1,741 fresh COVID-19 cases on Sunday. As many as 1,015 positive patients were in isolation, it said.
(With ANI inputs)