Tamil Nadu government allowed the reopening of cinema halls including multiplexes located inside shopping malls across the state from November 10. On November 3, Tuesday, it issued the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on how theatres can function. Both patrons and theatre staff will have to keep their face masks on at all times. To avoid contact at ticket and food counters, booking of tickets and food online, e-wallets for payment transaction, and QR codes for proof of tickets, must be adopted by theatres.
According to the SOP, multiplexes will have to reschedule show timings to avoid crowding. More importantly, cinema owners will have to collect the phone numbers of patrons to facilitate contact tracing. Ticket counters too, will have to be kept open through the day to avoid crowding or queues while buying tickets. TN government’s SOP is in accordance with the one issued by the Centre.
While the list of films that will be releasing directly in theatres for the first time in seven months has not yet been announced, theatre owners expect people to visit cinema halls on account of the festival.
Thermal screening at entry, hands-free sanitiser dispensers at entry and exit points, and 50% occupancy of seats are other norms that have been stipulated. Vacant seats must be marked with fluorescent tapes.
Cinema halls located inside containment zones will not be allowed to open yet. Similarly, employees from containment zones, those aged above 60, pregnant women, those with co-morbidities, and symptomatic workers, have been advised to stay at home. The SOP also mandates regular sanitising of all touch-points like doors, handles, etc.
Two big Tamil films, Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru and Nayanthara’s Mookuthi Amman will be releasing online, on OTT platforms. While Soorarai Pottru will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on November 12, Mookuthi Amman will premiere on Disney+ Hotstar VIP on November 14.