Multiplex Association of India writes to Uddhav Thackeray about second lockdown
A second lockdown would lead to irreversible damages to the already ailing multiplex industry, wrote Kamal Gianchandani, the President of the Multiplex Association of India
The Multiplex Association of India has written to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackery, expressing concern about a possible second lockdown in the state. Kamal Gianchandani, the President of the Multiplex Association of India, addressed the CM in his letter, stating that the multiplex industry has had "zero revenues in 8 months (13 March 2020 till 9 November 2020)."
The letter suggested issuing necessary orders to allow them to operate as per regular operational hours as they are in a better position to limit crowds and deploy the requisite mechanisms along with safety guidelines for crowd control and social distancing as per COVID-19 guidelines.
Despite the multiplexes opening up in November, Gianchandani wrote that the revenues were meagre. "Films are the soft power of Maharashtra and cinemas continue to be the main form of entertainment for our masses. The cinema exhibition sector is a critical part of functioning film industry, directly employing lakhs of people and contributing to indirect employment of millions of people. Media reports w.r.t the second lockdown in Maharashtra has already resulted in a lot of films postponing their releases," he wrote.
The imposition of a second lockdown, he wrote, will lead to severe and irreversible damages to the already ailing multiplex industry.
Gianchandani pointed out that local trains, railways, metros, airlines, retail shops and many such services have been restarted and operate with limited or no restrictions. "Cinemas are equipped with similar or better ability to ensure crowd control with a hygienic environment while maintaining social distancing norms when compared to Retail shops in High Street areas, Local trains, Metro services, Airlines, Railways services etc. Considering the same, we believe, it will be highly discouraging and discriminating, in case a second lockdown is imposed on Cinemas," he stated.
The letter also suggested some additional restrictions in multiplexes to enhance crowd safety:
- Only paying patrons visit us unlike high street shopping areas where there are no entry tickets
- Show timings are staggered Restricted Entry and Exits
- Availability of waiting areas Cinemas are already operating with 50% seating capacity restriction
- Cinemas are not allowing customers to carry the food & beverages inside the auditoriums
- Cinemas are run by professional managers, hence compliance to SOPs is assured unlike several hundreds of small shops in any high street market area, run by individual shopkeepers
Gianchandani also pointed out that there’s little evidence to link cinema theatres to COVID outbreaks. He urged the CM to not issue a second lockdown with respect to cinemas, multiplexes and malls. Instead, issue necessary orders to allow these institutions to operate accordingly.
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