Cinema halls in Gujarat likely to reopen from October 17

BCCL
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Cinema halls in Gujarat are likely to reopen from Saturday, as not from Thursday as per the government's guideline, as their owners have not been able to reach an agreement with distributors on re-running old films,a representative of the theatre owners said.

Cinema halls and multiplexes have been shut since March following the lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Gujarat government in its October 1 notification allowed cinema halls to operate from October 15 with 50 per cent capacity while adhering to the standard operating procedures, including social distancing and sanitisation.

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"We (multiplexes in Gujarat) are not starting from tomorrow, as we have not been able to decide the termsof re- running old movies with distributors in Mumbai," Gujarat Multiplex Owners' Association member said Neeraj Ahuja told on Wednesday.

"We will be running mostly old movies, most likely from Saturday," he said, adding that distributors of Gujarati films are also not ready to releaseany new movie as of now.

"To start with, we will screen one or two Gujarati and Hindi movies and then decide on the future course based on the response," said Ahuja, who is the general manager of Essem Entertainment Pvt Ltd, which runs Wide Angle Multiplexes in Ahmedabad and Mehsana.

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Most multiplexes in Gujarat are facing similar issues and hardly any theatre will be able to screen films starting Thursday, as allowed by thegovernment, he said.

Films which were released six to eight months back, before the lockdown was imposed, would be screened from Saturday, he said.

Multiplexes and cinema owners have decided to strictly follow the SOPs issued by the central and state governments.

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While online bookings will be encouraged, ticket counters will also operate by adhering to the social distancing norms, he said.

Sanitisers will be kept in cinema halls, he said, adding that theatres will be sanitised twice a day and alternate seats will be kept vacant.

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