Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Tuesday indicated that the government might consider allowing 100 per cent occupancy in film theatres and lift other COVID-19 related curbs in the state.
"The government wants to support the theatres. We are aware that the entire film business, including cinema theatres, cinema staff have suffered huge financial losses. The government is thinking positively," Sudhakar said.
Speaking to reporters after meeting a delegation of film producers and exhibitors, he said along with giving cooperation to them to revive, there is also a need to take all the precautionary measures.
"We don't want one activity to lead to a spurt in cases, in that direction we will take a decision. In two-three days we will discuss with the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC-consisting of experts), following which the Chief Minister along with senior Ministers will take a final decision," he added.
The film industry, including producers and exhibitors, have been asking for 100 per cent occupancy in theatres, up from the current 50 per cent.
Responding to a question as to whether the atmosphere is now conducive to allow 100 per cent seating in theatres, the Minister said, "Positivity is less than 1 per cent and we are reporting 600-800 cases daily. There aren't too many deaths. We will have to consider all this."
"We had earlier planned to allow all activities in all the districts on reporting less than 2 per cent (positivity), so as cinema theatres are already in loss, and the entire film industry has suffered financial losses, the government will have to stand by them," he said.
Sudhakar further said that the government will also discuss lifting curbs on pubs and swimming pools, during the meeting with TAC.
Meanwhile, the Kerala government is mulling reopening theatres and auditoriums in the southern state, which have remained shut for months following the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. State Minister for Cultural Affairs and Fisheries, Saji Cheriyan said the government would consider its reopening in the next phase.
"The current situation in the state is comparatively better. Of course, we are thinking about its reopening. After reaching an understanding, a decision will be taken in this regard soon," he told reporters here. The minister pointed out that the test positivity rate (TPR) of COVID-19 cases in the state showed a decline in recent days.
The theatres and auditoriums in Kerala have been closed for over one and half years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in the southern state. The film industry recently expressed concern over the continuing closure of the cinema halls as it affected the livelihood of several persons and their families.
After remaining shut since March last year, the Pinarayi Vijayan government had decided to reopen schools in the state from 1 November. A decision in this regard was taken at the COVID-19 evaluation meeting that was chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan last week.
(With inputs from Press Trust of India)