The Tamil Nadu government on Friday cancelled its order permitting 100 per cent occupancy in movie theatres and said the capacity shall be restricted to 50 per cent.
Days after allowing full capacity in cinemas following representations from the film industry, the government cited an advisory from the Centre and a petition in the Madras High Court over the matter for revoking its decision.
Till further orders, occupancy shall be confined to 50 per cent in all kinds of cinemas, including single and multiple screen movie halls and multiplexes, the government said in an official release. The Standard Operating Procedure to prevent the spread of coronavirus should be followed, it said.
The government, however, allowed theatres to screen additional shows as per a directive of the Madras High Court and said the order would be in force with immediate effect. On January 4, the government permitted 100 per cent seating capacity in cinema theatres and directed them to follow the SoP prescribed to prevent spread of coronavirus. The relaxation was given by the government after owners of cinema halls made a representation to the government seeking its permission to allow full seating capacity.
The state government had earlier allowed reopening of the theatres from November 10 with 50 per cent seating capacity. However, a big chunk of cinema theatres continued to be been shut though the government allowed resumption of screening of films.
Many movie halls that opened too witnessed poor revenues, according to the film industry sources. Close on the heels of the scheduled release of actors Vijay and Simbu’s Master and Easwaran on January 13 and 14 respectively, owners of cinema theatres hoped that permission for full capacity would help bring more movie lovers to cinemas and aid reopen closed movie halls.