Multiplex Association of India reacts to theatres not reopening in Unlock 2.0

The country went into lockdown starting March 25 owing to the increasing cases of coronavirus. Starting June 1, the government has started unlocking in a phase wise manner. By now, domestic travel, offices, markets, shopping complexes have been permitted to operate except for in containment zones. 

Multiplex Association reacts to theatres not reopening in Unlock 2.0

However, there has been no respite for theatres and the Multiplex Association of India has reacted to the same. The theatres were shut down a week before the nationwide lockdown was announced. In their press release, they expressed how demotivating and disheartening the decision is. “Cinemas and Multiplexes can become an example of how social distancing guidelines and crowd control can be best exercised in a safe and planned manner. As compared to the unorganised retail and shops that have been opened up, multiplexes and cinema are part of the organised sector, playing hosts to ‘revenue paying’ customers only and hence, in a better position to limit crowds unlike marketplaces and deploy all the mechanisms and guidelines for crowd control and social distancing,” the release read. 

“The multiplex industry in India employs more than 200,000 people directly. We are the backbone of the Indian Film Industry accounting nearly 60% of revenues of film business. The livelihoods of more than a million people – right from the spot boys to makeup artists, musicians, designers, technicians and engineers to cinema employees to directors and actors – hinges on the survival of Indian cinema. The lockdown has literally brought the entire industry to a standstill with losses mounting every passing day. An early decision to allow cinemas to open up will only help the mobilization of resources in the film industry’s ecosystem and would lead to gradual resurrection. In fact even after opening up, we anticipate atleast 3-6 months before things return anywhere close to normal. On one hand where programming of new content will take some time to kick in; movie buffs on the other hand are expected to take a cautious approach before returning to cinemas. These are real challenges that the industry will have to overcome and we believe together, with the support of the government, we will be able to overcome them,” it further read. 

They also cited how major countries across the world have opened up cinemas to the public with the implementation of safety protocols. “MAI is of the firm belief that, there must be a start and the unlocking of cinemas in non-containment zones across India should be done post haste – there must be a beginning and an opportunity must be given to us, just like some of the other sectors,” they said. 

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