The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday issued new guidelines for permitting more activities in areas outside the containment zones that include opening up cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity from October 15 .
In a statement, it said the activities permitted from October 15 in areas outside the containment zones include — cinemas, theatres and multiplexes that can open with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity, for which the SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Business to Business (B2B) Exhibitions will be permitted and SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce.
Entertainment parks and similar places will be permitted to open. The SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in this regard.
All these activities had been shut after a lockdown was imposed from March 25 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to SCAI, “After a struggle of more than 6 months, we are finally happy that the Government has allowed entertainment parks and gaming arcades to begin operations from October 15, 2020. The decision will go a long way in the recovery of the sector, especially for high capex businesses such as the indoor amusement centers which operate largely out of malls. The pandemic has had a very high impact on the financial viability of our business and it will take some time before we are able to emerge out of the crisis. The guidelines are certainly a positive development and welcome them wholeheartedly.
During the lockdown period, the indoor entertainment centres were redesigned in accordance to health and safety protocols issued by the government for operating malls and are now, fully capable to ensure crowd control and social distancing norms as per SoPs are followed. While we are looking forward to the Government SOPs specifically for entertainment parks and amusement centres, some very specific protocols have also been developed by the indoor amusement centers which will be strictly followed. For instance, children under the age of 12 years will only be allowed under strict parental supervision; similarly, categories such as virtual reality games, massage chairs, 5D Theater, Kids Carousal, Big rides that are operator governed, etc. are being prohibited until relaxations are provided by the relevant authorities.
We are hopeful that the respective state governments across the country also implement the MHA order in letter and spirit and allow the functioning of the indoor amusement centers.”