West Bengal allows cinema halls to operate from Oct 1

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West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has allowed theatres and cinema halls to function in state from October 1. Adherence to social distancing norms and other Covid-19 guidelines is mandatory for them, the chief minister said. A maximum of 50 people will be allowed to participate in these gatherings, Banerjee tweeted on Saturday evening.

These relaxations were announced ahead of Durga Puja celebrations, which will begin from October 22.

On Thursday, Banerjee announced guidelines for the upcoming festival. The pandal needs to be open from all four sides for proper ventilation. Hand sanitisers will have to be mandatorily placed at entry points of pandals, and wearing of face masks will be binding, the guidelines dictated.

“To return to normalcy, jatras, plays, open air theatres, cinemas and all musical, dance, recital and magic shows shall be allowed to function with 50 participants or less from 1 October, subject to adherence to physical distancing norms, wearing of masks and compliance to precautionary protocols,” Banerjee tweeted.

On the other hand, the ministry of home affairs has so far denied reopening permits to movie theatres that have been shut since the middle of March. However, cinema is a state subject in India.

Multiplex and single screen owners have run social media campaigns throughout September in protest against the denial of reopening permits to them. In over six months that the cinema halls have been shut, the Indian film industry has incurred losses of around Rs 3,000 crore, according to the financial daily newspaper Mint.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases in India neared the six million-mark on Sunday with 88,600 people getting infected with the virus in 24 hours. As many as 94,503 people have died due to the virus in the country. Covid-19 cases in West Bengal have gone over 2,44,240 and the death toll has crossed 4,721.

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