Only 50% Occupancy in TN Theatres till 11 January: Madras HC Order
The Madras High Court ordered that theatres in Tamil Nadu shall function with 50% occupancy till 11 January.
The Madras High Court on Friday ordered that cinema halls and theatres in Tamil Nadu shall function with 50% occupancy till 11 January.
A petition was filed in the court against the 4 January order passed by the state government, permitting 100% occupancy in cinema theatres, ahead of the Pongal season.
The court has directed the state to reconsider its order, stating that it is imperative to factor in the risks posed by the pandemic while trying to prioritise the livelihoods of people in the entertainment industry.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs had told the state government to withdraw its order allowing 100 percent occupancy, stating that it is not in line with the MHA’s guidelines on theatre and multiplex occupancies.
A letter from the Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla specified that the Home Ministry has extended the guidelines till 31 January.
"State/UT governments shall not dilute these guidelines...in any manner and shall strictly enforce the same," the letter read.
The state government’s order comes after several requests from the film fraternity, especially actor Vijay, whose film Master is slated for release on 13 January. The actor had reportedly met with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and requested him to allow 100% occupancy in theatres. Actor Silambarasan too had requested the CM the same ahead of his film Easwaran, which is also lined up for release for Pongal.
Theatres were allowed to partially reopen as part of the unlock guidelines issued in October by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The guidelines stated that cinemas, theatres and multiplexes are permitted to reopen with 50% seating capacity outside containment zones. The cinema halls have been instructed to strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedure released by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to reopen the theaters.
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