Several cinemas in the city witnessed “house full” occupancy in the festive weekend after a gap of several months since the second wave of COVID infections. With the State government relaxing COVID safety norms and allowing four shows per day from Thursday, occupancy in most of the cinemas increased.
Until a few days ago, the government allowed only 50% occupancy in places with fixed seating, including theatres, restaurants and others. A day before the festival weekend, the government issued a G.O. relaxing the restrictions. “The requirement of keeping alternative seats vacant in public places or venues with fixed seating arrangements is dispensed with,” the government order said.
Multiplex and single-screen theatres in the city witnessed high footfall as youth and families ventured out to watch the movies released on Thursday and Friday.
However, there were no movies from star directors and actors who could draw crowds to the theatres to make the best of the festival season and the relaxation of norms. Only about five movies, including three new releases, were being screened in the cinemas.
“After a long time, we are witnessing house-full shows. Because of the festival holiday, the rush was more, but the movies released this season were not much of crowd pullers. Usually, star-studded movies are lined up for festivals like Dasara, Diwali and Sankranti,” said Ram Kumar, representative of a single screen theatre in the city.
Norms not followed
On the other hand, the situation at the cinemas was worrisome as COVID safety protocols were hardly followed by the managements as well as movie-goers.
“I have come to the movie with friends as it was a holiday. We haven’t been to a theatre for months. But we regret coming now as few persons who sat near us did not wear masks throughout the movie. Though the government relaxed all the norms, one should consider going to the movie as a risk and take a wise decision,” said M. Tilak, an engineering student at a theatre in the city.
Major movie production houses have thanked the State government on social media for lifting the restrictions on occupancy.
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