The Karnataka government on Wednesday allowed 100% seating capacity in cinema halls for the next four weeks from Thursday.
The decision was taken after a meeting was held between Health and Family Welfare minister K Sudhakar, Information and Public Relations minister CC Patil, members of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, members of the film fraternity, and members of the state Technical Advisory Committee.
While speaking at a press conference, Sudhakar said that the situation will be reviewed after four weeks.
The decision came after Kannada film industry members protested on social media against the state government’s decision to continue with the 50% seating capacity, despite the Central government permitting 100% occupancy from February 1.
“In the meeting, we discussed some of the concerns the film industry raised. More than one lakh people in the (Kannada) film industry have been affected by the pandemic,” said Sudhakar.
Kannada actor Shivarajkumar, who had earlier shared a video on Twitter requesting the government for full occupancy, thanked the state government on behalf of the film industry at the press conference.
“During the meeting, we tried to understand both sides of the issue. There are reasons why the state government recommended 50% seating capacity and there are reasons why we asked for 100% seating capacity,” he said.
On January 30, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting increased the seating capacity in cinema halls across the country to 100%. In the circular, the government guidelines included ensuring six feet distancing, usage of masks, availability of sanitisers and sanitisation of premises, thermal screenings, allowance of longer intervals, complete digital booking system, among other detailed guidelines.
In the circular issued by Karnataka, while the state government allowed full seating capacity in hotels and restaurants, they decided to stick to 50% seating capacity “considering the possible second wave of Covid-19”.
Members of the Kannada film fraternity took to social media to demand full seating capacity in Karnataka a day after the state government’s announcement on cinema halls in the state operating at 50% seating capacity till February 28. KGF director Prashanth Neel, Raajakumara star Puneeth Rajkumar, actor-producer Shiva Rajkumar, actor and filmmaker Rakshit Shetty, executive producer of Hombale Films Karthik Gowda, and actor Raam have been tweeting with #KFIDemandsFullOccupancy on Twitter.