As theatres and multiplexes in Tamil Nadu are gearing up to reopen on November 10, the State government released a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for cinema halls, on Tuesday.
According to the guidelines issued, all the theatres must operate with 50% of its capacity. However, theatres at Covid-19 hotspots cannot operate.
Theatres should also mark the seats that cannot be used by the audience, with the help of tapes and fluorescent markers. Additionally, the seats that are available, should also be notified to the customers while buying the tickets. A distance of six feet between individuals should be maintained inside the theatres and face masks are mandatory.
The guidelines state that touch-free sanitisers should be present near the entry and exit points of the theatre. Visitors are encouraged to use tissue papers while sneezing or coughing and a proper disposal method should be introduced, the State government said.
Also, the government has advised the public to keep a tab on their health and to reach out immediately to the district or State helpline in case of health issues. The guidelines also banned spitting in public and encouraged everyone to register on the Aarogya Setu app. Anyone with the symptoms of Covid-19 should isolate and quarantine in a separate room or section.
If anyone is found sick within the theatre premises, a face mask should be provided to them till they are inspected by a medical officer. They should immediately be taken to a nearby hospital or the district/State helpline should be reached out to. Further steps regarding the risks posed by the infected, the treatment that they should undergo, the people they have been in contact with, and the necessity to spray disinfectants, should be taken by the theatre. If the person is found infected with Covid-19, then the entire theatre should be disinfected.
The theatres should also have thermal scanners at the entry points and only those who do not show any symptoms of Covid-19 can be allowed to enter. The entertainment centre should also ensure ample intervals between each film screening to avoid overcrowding of people while entering and exiting.
Steps should be taken to ensure social distancing at parking lots and outside theatre premises. Valets should be wearing face masks and gloves and restrictions should be imposed on the number of people using escalators and lifts. People should also be encouraged not to step outside during intermissions.
In the case of multiplexes, the film timings must vary from screen to screen. The beginning, intermission, and end of the films running on different screens must not coincide. To avoid contact, tickets, food, and beverages must be sold through digital methods. More counters for food and beverages should be installed and only packed food and beverages can be sold.
Phone numbers of the audience must be procured to help facilitate contact tracing. Extra ticket counters should be installed within theatres and they should remain open throughout the day.
The guidelines also specify that theatres should be disinfected frequently and after every screening, the auditorium must be disinfected. Those working in the santisation department should be provided with proper safety equipment.
Employees coming from the containment zones areas are allowed to work only after the government announces that their area is not a risk zone. Employees who are at higher risk, including old people, pregnant women, and those with other diseases, should undertake extra precautions and avoid coming in direct contact with the public.
Theatre owners should ensure that their staff has registered on the Aarogya Setu app. The staff must be educated on the precautions and safety measures to be taken and should be provided training regarding the same. It is also the responsibility of the theatre owners to raise public awareness about the dos and don’ts regarding the pandemic, safety measures to be taken by putting up posters, and through audio and video announcements.
The air conditioning must be maintained at 24 to 30 degrees Celsius and the humidity must be maintained between 40 to 70%. Theatres should avoid recirculating air and proper ventilation should be ensured within the auditorium.
The SOP also directs the necessary officers in charge to take stringent action against those who do not follow the rules laid out.