100% occupancy in theatres: TN to file detailed reply in HC on Monday
Chennai, Jan 08: The Tamil Nadu government informed the Madras High Court that it would work out a solution and submit a detailed reply by January 11 regarding the permissible seating capacity at movie theatres ahead of the Pongal festival.
The Bench is being a petition filed by advocate Kannan of Madurai on behalf of S Muthu Kumar.
The petition was filed after the state government had permitted 100 per cent occupancy of seats in cinema halls. The petitioner said that this moved posed a threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the fear of the UK strain of the virus.
The state government had earlier allowed reopening of the theatres, which remained closed since the national COVID-19 lockdown came into force in March last year, from November 10 with 50 per cent seating capacity.
However, a big chunk of cinema theatres had been shut though the government allowed resumption of screening of films while many movie halls that are already open too witnessed less number of footfalls.
In its order on Monday, the government said messages on precautionary measures to avoid the virus spread shall also be screened during the show time in cinema theatres to create awareness among the public. "Based on the decrease in the COVID-19 cases day by day, the theatre owners association have represented to the government to increase the seating capacity of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes," the GO said.
On the basis of the representation, the government has allowed the increase in the seating capacity, it said. Asked on the continued closure of a section of theatres and how the order allowing 100 per cent capacity would make a difference, Joint Secretary of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association S Srither said they expected films that would be released coinciding with Pongal festivities later this month would bring in more people.