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Only the Unlock 5.0 guidelines are not enough, SOP and state government approval are also required to reopen business, say theatre owners in the states.

A movie theater ticket counter which is closed and a man passing through it using an umbrella in rain
Flix Tollywood Thursday, October 01, 2020 - 13:31

According to the ‘Unlock 5.0’ guidelines given by the union government on Wednesday, movie theatres in the country can reopen from October 15. Theatre owners in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have started discussing the matter among themselves, and the measures that can be implemented for the safety of theatre-goers. However, the state governments are yet to give official orders on whether or not the businesses can start functioning again. For though the union government gave the Unlock 5.0 guidelines, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the same is yet to be released by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Theatres have remained shut across the nation due to the coronavirus for more than six months. In regard to Tollywood, Alavaikuntapuramuloo, Sarileru Neekevvaru and  Bheeshma were among the last few films that ran in theatres before the lockdown began in March.

Speaking to The News Minute, Daggubati Suresh Babu, who own theatres across the Telugu states and is a Producer and Managing Director of Suresh Productions, said, “It's not enough if the union government gave the green signal for the theatres to reopen in the states. We need to get orders from the state government as well. In many cases, the central government gave the orders and the state took time to permit the same in their respective jurisdiction. So, we will have to wait for state government permission and also the Standard Operating Procedure, after which, we will start our preparations.”

Meanwhile, owners of single-screen theatres have started discussing arrangements that they can make, while waiting for the SOP. On Thursday morning, some of the owners discussed the matter of reopening theatres in a meeting and are making plans for the same.

Speaking of their plans, Balgovind Raju, owner of Sudharshan Theatre in Hyderabad, said, “We are also waiting for the Standard Operating Procedure. As there is only 50 percent occupancy, according to the guidelines, alternative seating arrangements would be there. Meanwhile we are discussing how we can provide maximum safety to the people and especially our staff who come to the theatre to work on an everyday basis.”

Provisions for contact-less ticketing, usage of UV bins for sanitising cash, placement of automatic thermal screening and observation by staff from a distant display screen, fumigation of seats after every show, alternative seating and the usage of alternative toilets are some of the measures that have been chalked out in anticipation of the reopening of theatres.

Read: Netflix announces its first Tamil anthology film 'Paava Kadhaigal'

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