A delegation of members of the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) met with Delhi Chief Deputy Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday and asked for his intervention to authorize the reopening of cinemas in the nation’s capital.
Amid a spike in Covid-19 cases following the emergence of the Omicron variant, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday declared a “yellow alert” closing schools, colleges, cinemas and gymnasiums.
The MAI delegation at its meeting highlighted the “unfavorable economic situation” facing the industry due to several shutdowns since March 2020.
According to a statement, the delegation informed Sisodia that the government’s decision to close cinemas in Delhi while implementing the “yellow” alert of the Graduated Response Action Plan (GRAP) has caused “massive uncertainty”, resulting in a change in film releases, like Shahid Kapoor’s “Jersey”, which is no longer due on December 31st.
As part of the four-step Graduated Response Action Plan (GRAP), the “yellow” alert will go off if the positivity rate stands at 0.5% for two consecutive days, resulting in a multitude of restrictions.
The delegation was led by PVR Limited chairman Ajay Bijli, who said the association appreciates the government’s battle against Covid but offered alternatives instead of a complete shutdown of movie theaters.
“We urge the Delhi government to consider introducing a ‘compulsory double vaccination’ to enter cinemas, as is the case in some other states. Alternatively, the 50% restriction on the number of seats can be reintroduced. in cinemas, “the statement read.
For its part, Sisodia assured the delegation that the issue would be discussed with the Delhi Disaster Management Authority working group and other government officials, the association added.
At the meeting, the delegation urged the minister to give cinemas “equal treatment” at the same level as other industries and institutions.
They said the exhibits sector has demonstrated its ability to “operate safely for the public and employees”, with the use of improved ventilation systems, improved hygiene and other safety protocols.
The delegation also submitted a research report on “Low risk of transmission of Covid in theaters,” which captures the results from various theaters around the world.
“The delegation underlined the unique social, cultural and economic value of the Indian film industry and called on the deputy chief minister to provide it with the support it desperately needs to survive this unprecedented period,” it said. read in the press release.
MAI, which was established in 2002 under the auspices of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) by major cinema operators, represents more than 11 cinema chains, operating more than 500 multiplexes across the country.
According to data from the Union Ministry of Health, the daily increase in Covid-19 cases crossed the 13,000 mark after around 49 days, bringing the total to 3,48 22,040.
The country recorded the largest single-day increase in Omicron infections with 180 new cases, bringing the total number of such infections in the country to 961. Delhi recorded the peak number of 263 cases followed by Maharashtra at 252, Gujarat 97, Rajasthan 69, Kerala 65 and Telangana 62.
The death toll climbed to 480,860 with 268 new deaths, the data showed.