Chennai: Even as the State government was forced to allow only 50% occupancy in movie theatres following a strict warning by the Centre on adherence to COVID-19 guidelines framed under the Disaster Management Act, all social distancing norms were thrown to the wind on Wednesday as more than a handful of theatres in the city, where Vijay-starrer 'Master' was released, were filled to capacity.
City police have so far booked cases against 11 cinema halls for allowing full occupancy in violation of COVID norms under IPC Sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) besides imposing Rs 5,000 fine.
Police said similar situations were witnessed across the State and that most screens did not follow the 50% occupancy rule exposing public to a possibly fresh outbreak of COVID-19.
Though the State allowed 100% capacity in halls following a request from theatre owners ahead of the film’s release, it was withdrawn after the Centre’s warning and also after pleas from the medical fraternity on the dire consequences of allowing so many people together in a closed space during the pandemic.
Theatres owners, however, claim that their hands are tied when fans go out of control.
“It is indeed a disastrous situation. This has happened in a few single screen theatres across the state and this will backfire. People will lose the trust they have in us,” said Tiruppur Subramaniam, president, Tamil Nadu Theatre Owner’s Association.
Asianet.in/NewsDesk: Asianet Online