Despite govt guidelines, single screen owners, multiplexes unsure of opening

Despite govt guidelines, single screen owners, multiplexes unsure of opening

Neha Saini

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 14

After the Centre’s guidelines to reopen cinemas, schools and other entertainment parks, the multiplexes and single screens in the city are yet to make up their mind.

The Punjab Government has already issued guidelines in accordance with the Centre’s decision on reopening. But a majority of multiplex chains and single screens will refrain from opening immediately for reasons best known to them.

“To reopen after a gap of several months is not easy as several maintenance issues have to be sorted out. Fifty per cent of the staff has been allowed to work but it will take us a few days to set things in order. We are yet to take a decision,” said a spokesperson for INOX cinemas at Trillium Mall.

Similarly, Vijay Kumar, manager, PVR cinemas, too, said they were considering every possible option for reopening keeping in mind safety aspects post the Covid-19 lockdown. “We are in talks with our head office and we will abide by the guidelines. We cannot say anything with clarity about any specific date for reopening as of now.” Cinepolis chain of cinemas at Alpha One Mall, too, have considered reopening after a few days.

Meanwhile, single screen owners are clear that they will not reopen until audience response across the country becomes clear. “There are no movies up for release and health concern, too, is there since Covid-19 is very much there. We will watch how things take shape once other cinemas reopen. Since reopening requires a lot of investment, we need to be very sure that we will get quite a number of viewers. People are still in no mood to go out for movies as the lockdown has had an impact on people’s jobs and families,” said Pramod Mehra, co-owner, Sangam Cinemas.

A few single screen owners like Raj cinema will reopen with old prints to see if the audience is interested in watching movies. “Business will pick up near Diwali, as a few films are lined up for release,” said Pramod. The DC has already said cinema halls and multiplexes are allowed to reopen with 50 per cent staff and 50 per cent occupancy with adequate physical distancing while seating. Seats which are not to be occupied will be marked and several steps like digital payment of tickets and online advance booking ensured to avoid unnecessary crowding.

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