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Allow multiplexes to open in non-containment zones: Industry body to government

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 02, 2020 Published on July 02, 2020

Ccinemas and multiplexes continue to remain in the list of the prohibited economic activities   -  V Sreenivasa Murthy

The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) on Thursday urged the government to allow operation of cinemas in non-containment zones. In the latest guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, multiplex chains have not been given permission to operate, amid rising Covid-19 cases in the country.

Expressing dismay that cinemas and multiplexes continue to remain in the list of the prohibited economic activities, the industry body said: “As compared to the unorganised retail and shops that have been opened up, multiplexes and cinema are part of the organised sector, playing hosts to ‘revenue-paying’ customers only, and hence are in a better position to limit crowds unlike marketplaces and deploy all the mechanisms and guidelines for crowd control and social distancing.”

‘There must be a beginning’

“The MAI is of the firm belief that there must be a start and the unlocking of cinemas in non-containment zones across India should be done post haste — there must be a beginning and an opportunity must be given to us, just like some of the other sectors,” the statement added.

The association said globally, more than 20 markets have allowed multiplexes to operate with safety protocols. This includes countries such as France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Hong Kong, the UAE and the US — and more recently Belgium and Malaysia.

“We are the backbone of the Indian film industry, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of revenues of film business. The livelihoods of more than a million people hinges on the survival of Indian cinema. The lockdown has literally brought the entire industry to a standstill with losses mounting every passing day,” the MAI said.

It added that an early decision to allow cinemas to open up will only help the industry mobilise resources in the film industry’s ecosystem and would lead to gradual resurrection. “In fact, even after opening up, we anticipate at least 3-6 months before things return anywhere close to normal,” the statement added.

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Published on July 02, 2020
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