Cinema set to reopen after lockdown


Posted on 6th Jun 2020 12:51 pm by rohit kumar

Next time you go to a cinema hall, be prepared to get the seat near you empty. The Covid-19 epidemic has permanently changed the experience of watching films in India. The way to welcome in theaters now, it will be different from the crowd and the atmosphere will be more clean. However, before the lockdown, people used to be happy with hand in hand or popcorn and cola.

The lockdown relief of the first phase has raised hopes for theaters, single screens and multiplexes to reopen in its third phase. It is expected to happen around the second week of July. There will be distance in the seating area, contactless service and much hygiene practice. Film watchers will be encouraged to book their tickets and meals in advance, wear masks while watching the film, and maintain strict discipline to walk in a row while entering and exiting the picture hall. The importance of housekeeping will change and employees will be periodically examined to ensure that there is no fear of their health.

 

The country's top multiplex chains, including names such as PVR, Inox, Cinepolis, and Carnival Cinema, are quietly working on these new standard operating procedures by organizing digital seminars and training programs for their personnel. They are cleaning their buildings to prevent moisture loss and technology is being procured to aid in sanitization and thermal screening.

 

On the other hand, single-screen theaters have struggled to make a start, keeping in mind that cash flow has been zero for the last two and a half months since the lockdown began. Of the 9,600 screens in the country, 70 percent are single screens and 30 percent are multiplex screens. Experts say that though multiplexes contribute half of the revenue from the theater, many single-screen theaters may have to consolidate work due to lower occupancy and higher cost of maintenance.

 

The industry estimates that the cost of maintenance of the film hall could increase by 20–25 per cent in the post-Covid era. Prior to Covid-19, the 'occupancy level' at multiplexes was an average of 35 to 36 percent, reopening after a three to six month interval and adjusted to the new regulations, which could be 25 to 30 percent. Gautam Dutta, CEO of PVR Cinemas, says his firm has formulated detailed rules of etiquette at the cinema, employee and customer level, which will serve as the new 'rule book' when cinema halls reopen.

 

Dutta said that at the employee level, we are working on three things. Stringent training programs are being started in the first phase before the cinema hall opens to help the staff adapt to the new normalcy. This rehearsal will go on and it will accelerate five to 10 days before the cinema hall opens and one aspect will be to ensure that the staff is medically qualified. The process of medical examination for all employees will continue even after re-start as many employees will be in the front row. We are trying to make it fun for our employees during the training session which includes the aspect of making the training format like a game so that they are easily understood.

 

PVR has also made a new beginning regarding safety standards by installing antibacterial coating at more exposed locations inside its buildings. These include door handles, furrows, lift buttons to prevent the spread of germs, as well as sterilizing the auditorium to improve the inside air quality and use special packaging and dispensers for food items. The cash will be periodically disinfected with ultra violet lights and motion sensor based sanitizers will be installed in all washes.

 

Inox Leisure's CEO Alok Tandon says his series will encourage paperless transactions for ticket booking and food ordering. When demarcating the floor, manners have to be followed to maintain distance as soon as they enter. To ensure the distance inside the auditorium, we will allot the seats in such a way that the subsequent seats remain vacant after any booking. In addition, movie shows will be scheduled in such a way that there is no entry, comma and exit at the same time during the two shows. Cinepolis India CEO Devang Sampath says that this chain of multiplexes is evaluating several seating arrangements to ensure social distance. They say that our IT system is fully geared to provide multiple seating options. We are also ready to implement social distance norms that can be set for industry by government departments.

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