Cold response on day one at cinema halls
After staying shut for more than six months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, theatres and multiplexes reopened to a poor response on Thursday. Multiplexes across the city resumed operations as per the guidelines issued under Unlock 5. However, theatre owners are hopeful of bouncing back to business during the festive season when new multistarrer movies are scheduled to release.
Following the protocol, all theatres have maintained that auditorium occupancy will not be more than 50%, adjacent seats on either sides will be left vacant. Floor markers will be placed at ticket counter and food counters. Digital modes of transactions have been encouraged. Availability of PPE kits for purchase has also been made.
“Security persons have been instructed to follow the safety protocol and people will not be allowed inside the premises without face masks and thermal screening. Show timing, intermissions and exits will be staggered to maintain social distancing. Contactless sanitiser dispensers will be placed at entrance and in lobbies. There will be designated bins for masks, gloves etc,” said a staffer at INOX Eros One in Jangpura.
Alok Tandon, CEO of INOX Leisure Ltd said: “The SOPs are simple and audience-friendly, and will ensure that the overall cinema viewing experience is safe and reliable. We are completely geared up and prepared for the new normal, which would assign top-most priority to safety and hygiene. Our preparations on the hygiene and disinfection front will set new benchmarks for any public premises, whether inside the auditorium, or in our lobbies and F&B counters.”
PVR Icon at Vasant Kunj has encouraged contactless sale of ticket by placing QR code at windows. They are also offering PPE kits, gloves, disposable 3D glasses, disposable seat and armrest covers at extra cost to make cinema viewing experience more safe.
“Cinema goers will be encouraged to download Aarogya Setu app. Food items will not be allowed inside halls. At the food and beverages section, all food will be sterilised under UV rays in a machine for eight minutes before being handed over to customers. Enhanced air filtration systems are in place for the safety of visitors,” said an employee at a multiplex in South Delhi.
“We are hopeful to bring the crowd back to theatres with the new releases. Presently, we are screening Bollywood movies released a few months ago,” said a member of the PVR cinema in Ghaziabad.
To draw more crowd, multiplexes are offering cashbacks on more than one ticket, discount food coupons and selling two movie tickets at the the price of one. At PVR Plaza in Connaught Place, the ticket prices are just ₹99 flat for all categories.
Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas said, “We are pleased to be back and as we reopen slowly and steadily, ensuring the safety of our customers and employees is our first priority. Currently, the focus is on building consumer confidence and following the guidelines laid down by the MHA. We are optimistic that we will emerge out of this stronger and more robust. The screening pipeline looks promising and we are working very hard to bring the most exciting content to our patrons in the following weeks.”