The Telangana government on Friday permitted cinema theatres to enhance seating capacity to 100 per cent.
Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar has issued a Government Order (GO) allowing theatres/multiplexes to increase the seating capacity.
The GO, issued keeping in view the orders by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, follows a request from the Telugu Film Chambers of Commerce.
Telangana joined states like Delhi, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Gujarat and Karnataka to allow cinema halls to increase occupancy from 50 per cent to 100 per cent.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had on February 1 allowed theatres to operate at 100 percent capacity but left the decision to the discretion of state governments depending on the situation in each state.
It was on November 23 that the Telangana government had permitted theatres in areas outside the containment zones to reopen with up to 50 of their seating capacity.
Cinema halls were back in business on December 4 with the audiences returning after more than eight months to enjoy their favourite entertainment.
Telangana, which has about 600 theatres, was late compared to many other states in allowing reopening of screens but authorities justified the move in view of the pandemic situation. They moved ahead with their plans only after a significant drop in Covid cases.
Officials said improvement in the situation especially in Greater Hyderabad, which has 175 theatres, including 70 multiplex screens, led to the decision. Theatres had reopened with alternate seating.
As per the SOPs issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, adequate physical distancing, mandatory face masks and sanitisation of auditorium after every screening are a must. It said digital booking of tickets and staggered show timings to avoid crowding will be encouraged.