Multiplex Association of India, PVR, Inox and other cinema chains urge Maharashtra government to reopen theatres

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The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) along with leading cinema chains such as PVR and INOX have urged the Maharashtra government to reopen theatres in the state on an ‘urgent basis’ to sustain livelihoods across the industry. They have claimed that the entertainment industry has suffered mammoth losses amounting to the tune of Rs 4,800 crore as they have remained shut since March last year.

The association wrote a letter to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and urged him to reopen theatres. As cases of COVID-19 dropped, states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have permitted the resumption of operations in cinema halls but in Maharashtra they have remained shut.

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In the letter, the MAI wrote, “At the rate of a monthly loss of Rs 400 crore, the Maharashtra cinema exhibition industry has lost approximately Rs 4,800 crore in various lockdowns since March 2020. Films are the soft power of Maharashtra and cinemas continue to be the main form of entertainment for millions of Indians. Due to the nation-wide lockdown, the cinema exhibition industry has run into an extremely adverse and hostile situation; it was the first sector to be shut down and will be the last sector to reopen.”

The letter stated, “Malls, Airlines, Railways, Retail, Restaurants, Gyms and many such services have already been restarted as part of 'Unlock Maharashtra'. In the recently announced unlock guidelines, Local Trains, Parks and Beaches have also been permitted to reopen. Cinemas are equipped with better abilities to ensure crowd management in stringent hygienic environments while maintaining social distancing norms. Only paying patrons visit us unlike other activities where there are no entry tickets, movie show timings are staggered, therefore no crowd builds up and there is availability of ample waiting areas. There are controlled and regulated entry and exit Cinemas are professionally managed, hence compliance of SOPs is assured.”

The letter concluded, “Given the dire economic impact of the epidemic on our sector and the resultant loss of jobs, we sincerely urge the government of Maharashtra to allow reopening of cinemas on an urgent basis and facilitate an early vaccination of people employed in the cinemas.”

(Source: Twitter)

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