Karnataka government defers 50% theatre occupancy order to April 7

This comes a day after the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce approached Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to allow full occupancy in theatres.
Ticket sales counter of a multiplex
Ticket sales counter of a multiplex
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The government of Karnataka has modified its April 2 order mandating 50 percent occupancy in theatres across the state and has deferred it to April 7. The decision to defer the restriction on theatre occupancy came a day after the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce approached Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to allow full occupancy of theatres. The association had said that advanced online bookings have already been made since the restrictions were not announced well in advance. The restrictions on theatre occupancy will now come into effect from 12 am on April 7.

“The Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce has made a request to Hon'ble Chief Minister to allow cinema halls to run due to the fact that advance online bookings have been made because of non-receipt of advance notice. It is now decided that the said restriction will be made applicable with effect from 00.00 hours of 7 April 2021,” an order issued by the Karnataka government on Saturday said.

After the Karnataka government modified the order, actor Puneeth Rajkumar, whose film Yuvarathnaa had hit the theatres a day before the restrictions were announced, tweeted a video thanking the Chief Minister, his fans and those who supported the movie team. In the video, he requested all the moviegoers to use masks and sanitisers and follow COVID-19 norms.

The Karnataka government had on Friday issued fresh guidelines for the state of Karnataka in view of the rising COVID-19 cases. This included the closure of gyms and swimming pools and a reduction in the seating capacity of pubs, bars and theatres to 50%. 

Several members of the Kannada film industry had expressed unhappiness with the announcement and asked the government to reconsider. The hashtags #SaveCinema and #WeWant100PercentOccupancy trended on Twitter and actor Puneeth Rajkumar said that this decision was unfair and that they should have been to be intimated in advance before the films released. Further, he said that it was  ‘too late now’ and that the government must take back this decision.

Kannada actor Dhananjay also said, “If this was told before, the release could have been postponed. Isn't this injustice?”

Sudeep also expressed dissatisfaction with the government's move and tweeted saying, “Goin bk to 50% theatrical occupancy is surely a shocker to a film tats jus released. Respecting the govts decision too is our duty, keeping in mind its for a reason. I wsh team #Yuvaratna the best of strength to over come this situation and come out victorious.. On April 1, Puneeth Rajkumar’s new film Yuvarathna was released just a day before the government decided to reduce the occupancy to 50% (sic).”

Several users on Twitter also expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision of the government, alleging “hypocrisy.” Users highlighted the large political rallies for the elections across the five states, and also the campaigning being carried out for the bye-polls in  Basavakalyana and Maski Assembly seats and the Belagavi Lok Sabha seat.

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