The Karnataka government allowed cinema theatres across the state to reopen on July 19 after being shut for more than three months. Movie theatres are one of the worst-hit industries in the pandemic, being operational for a total of four or five months since 2020.
While the restrictions were partially lifted on July 19, most theatres in the capital city Bengaluru took almost 10 days to begin operations. Only 50% occupancy is allowed across theatres. INOX in Garuda Mall reopened its doors on 30th July, with strict Covid-19 SOPs in place.
Deep cleaning and disinfection take place regularly beginning from the box office entrance to the cinema halls. The response is moderate, with an average of 15 to 30 people coming in a day. PVR Cinemas in Forum Mall, Koramangala, introduced incentives to attract more customers. Their BOGO offer awards a free second ticket to customers that are fully or partially vaccinated.
Positive responses from film distributors reaffirm their optimism to quickly bounce back. With stringent sanitization measures in place and showtimes tweaked to avoid crowding within the lobby, more customers are regaining their trust in cinema halls.
Smaller miniplex theatres such as Gopalan Cinemas screen around 10 shows a day, mostly older releases, and reduced ticket prices to 99 rupees to attract more customers. The pace of pickup is much better than that following the first lockdown, allowing theatres to remain hopeful of returning to normalcy soon with 100% seating capacity.