Movie theatres in Kerala will not reopen anytime soon owing to the pandemic. The decision was taken by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and differed from that of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where the state governments gave the green signal to open up theatres.
On Thursday, various stakeholder holders of the Malayalam film industry met with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, where the latter relayed the decision to them. Film bodies including the producers associations, distributors, theatre owners associations, FEFKA (Film Employees Federation of Kerala), Kerala Chalachitra Academy, Kerala Film Development Corporation etc participated in the meeting with the Chief Minister.
â€śThe Chief Minister said that opening up theatres now was not a conversation we should be having right now, due to the current COVID-19 cases in the state. He added that when the situation betters, there can be another meeting where the possibility of opening up cinema halls can be discussed. For now, the CM has also not given any timeline for when we can expect to bring up reopening of theatres,â€ť Liberty Basheer, President of Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation (KFEF) told TheNewsMinute.
The film bodies also put forth a list of demands to the government, which they said was promised to be considered.
â€śWe have 4-5 demands which include cutting down the new municipal taxes for tickets and electricity bill which is Minimum Fixed Charges for theatres regardless of usage. For multiplexes, this charge can go upto Rs 1 lakh a month. For smaller theatres, it can be upto Rs 20,000 a month. The government has waived off 25 percent of this for the last three months,â€ť Basheer added.
Theatres were shut across India ever since the COVID-19 lockdown on March 25, 2020. On October 15, theatres, multiplexes and cinema halls opened in Karnataka with strict COVID-19 protocols in place and 50 percent capacity.
In Tamil Nadu, the state government issued an order allowing theatres to reopen from November 10. The theatres are functioning based on guidelines issued by the Union government which include 50 percent seating, regular sanitising, cashless transactions and other protocols.
On Thursday, November 19, Kerala reported 5722 new cases of COVID-19 after testing 67, 017 samples. The state which was recording 7000- 8000 cases daily, has seen a dip in the numbers recently. Twenty six COVID-19 deaths have also been reported on Thursday and currently has 69,396 active cases of the virus.