COVID-19 effect: Delhi halls to follow govt directive on closure

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New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) Many cinema halls in the Capital are waiting for an official government directive before shutting shop in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that all movie theatres would remain shut in the city till March 31, while some theatres have already taken the decision.
“Delhi cinemas shall be closed as per government directives,” said an official announcement by Carnival cinemas.
Mohan Umrotkar, CEO, Carnival Cinemas, said: “The impact of coronavirus on the business and on general life shall be significant. We support the cause of prevention of COVID-19.” Umrotkar added that as far as Carnival Cinemas properties elsewhere inIndia goes, the chain’s “staff has been briefed on how to handle the situation in case of emergency”.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Kejriwal had tweeted: “Delhi govt has declared Coronavirus an epidemic. We need to exercise abundant caution to contain the disease. All cinema halls, schools, colleges in Delhi will be shut until 31st March, but exams will continue as scheduled. People are advised to stay away from public gatherings.”
“We are continuing the ongoing measures to check the spread of coronavirus in Delhi. Along with that, we have decided to close all the cinema halls and schools which are not having examination till March 31,” Kejriwal told media on Thursday.
When IANS reached out to some of the major theatres in Delhi, most of them seemed aware about the development but said they are waiting for an formal communication from the government before taking an official stand.
“We are closely following all the advisories from the relevant government authorities at local, state and national levels. With regards to Delhi, we will surely follow the advisory the moment we receive it,” read an official statement by INOX.
RK Malhotra, manager at Delite Cinemas, Daryaganj, told IANS: “We are yet to receive any official notification from the government, but whatever the government decides would be abided by. It would be for the best of the people.”
Talking about the impact on the business, Malhotra continued: “As of now �Baaghi 3′ is doing fabulous business despite the threat, and as of today the film looks like it could become Tiger Shroff’s biggest hit at our theatre. Around 10 to 12 films are doing good business in the city right now. Shutting down the halls will affect business of all these films. By a rough estimate, if halls are asked to shut down till the end of the month, it could even pile up a cumulative loss of around Rs 100 crore in this territory.”
Online ticketing platform BookMyShow also issued an official statement, saying: “We recognise the ongoing health concerns due to coronavirus and are committed to working with the regulatory authorities and the government on all precautionary health advisories issued across Indian states. BookMyShow fulfils the role of a ticketing aggregator for all movies listed on the platform and will follow all due procedures to ensure no inconvenience is caused to our valued consumers, incase of any cancellations or rescheduling of movie releases. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and request all consumers to stay safe.”