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Centre asks Tamil Nadu to ‘immediately’ revise order on allowing theatres, cinema halls to open at full capacity

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday asked Tamil Nadu government to “immediately issue necessary order” to bring their guidelines in line with the MHA guidelines issued for Covid-19 containment after the state increased seating capacity of theatres and cinema halls from 50% to 100% earlier.

“Government of Tamil Nadu order of permitting increase the seating capacity of Cinema/theaters/ multiplexes from existing 50% to 100% is dilution of MHA order. States and UT shall not dilute guidelines issued under DM act in any manner,” MHA said in a statement.

“Govt of Tamil Nadu is requested to immediately issue necessary order to bring their Guidelines in line with the MHA guidelines dated 28 December 2020 and inform compliance to this Ministry,” the ministry further said.

Home secretary wrote to Tamil Nadu Chief secretary to issue orders aligned to MHA guidelines, allowing multiplexes to operate outside containment zones with up to 50% occupancy/

On Monday, Tamil Nadu government had permitted to increase the seating capacity of cinemas, theatres, multiplexes from existing 50% to 100% following COVID19 protocols.

“The seating capacity of Cinemas/theatres/Multiplexes shall be permitted to increase from existing 0% to 100% by following the Standard Operating Procedure issued already. Further, in order to create awareness among the spectators, the precautionary measures for Covid 19 shall also be screened during the showtime,” the government order issued on Monday stated.

People would be thermal screened and sanitisers would be provided and if movie lovers arrive without a mask they would be provided mask free of cost, state officials had said. “We will also sanitise the premises between each show.”

The order comes days after actors and theatre owners requested Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to allow theatres to function at their full capacity. As per the COVID-19 safety protocol, since last October, the theatres in the state were allowed to fill up only 50 per cent of their seats to ensure social distancing.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu on Wednesday reported 811 new COVID-19 cases, 943 discharges, and 11 deaths in the last 24 hours. The active cases in the state now stand at 7,665 while the total cases are at 8,23,181, the health bulletin said.

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